Spain remains the world-leader in organ transplant donations

The Costa del Sol Hospital in Marbella.
The Costa del Sol Hospital in Marbella. / EFE
  • For the twenty-ninth consecutive year the country is top of the table for 2020, despite the challenges of the pandemic

Not even the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic could prevent Spain, in 2020, from being crowned the world leader in organ donation for the twenty-ninth consecutive year.

The country’s National Transplant Organisation (ONT), the successful organ donation model envied and copied by healthcare systems around the world, maintained a donation rate of 38 per million inhabitants despite the 'shock' from the Covid-19 crisis.

The figure represents a decline of 22 per cent compared to the normality of 2019, but Ministry of Health officials still consider it a success given the generalised falls around the world. The setback in the donation rate explained was by the pressure on healthcare systems and intensive care units in the second quarter of 2020, that play a key role in the transplant operations.

However, the Spanish organ donation rate remained the best in the world and double that of the EU. The second-placed European country was Estonia, some way behind, with 50 per cent fewer donations. The Spanish rate is double those of Canada or Australia and Spain contributes 20 per cent of the organ donations in the EU, despite only having 9 per cent of its population, and 5 per cent of world transplants, from a population that accounts for 0.6 per cent of the world total.

The success is attributed to the generosity of the Spaniards and their families and in well-coordinated transplant system, which works with the precision of a Swiss watch and does not waste a single donated organ.