08/06/2011, 00.00
MALAYSIA

Malaysian Catholics to promote blood and organ donation

During the Muslim month of fasting and prayer, blood banks are low in supplies. Catholics are trying to fill the gap. A community near Kuala Lumpur kicks off a collection drive on 14 August. Between 1997 and 2011, Malaysia has had less than 197,000 organ donors. The Catholic Church backs the faithful’s initiative.
Kuala Lumpur (AsiaNews/Agencies) – The Commission for Integral Human Development at Kristus Aman Chapel, a Catholic community in Taman Tun Dr. Ismail, a township near Kuala Lumpur, is organising a blood and organ drive on 14 August. The local church will prepare a buffet from noon to 4 pm for donors.

Malaysia is predominantly Muslim. Organisers chose Ramadan because donations by Muslims drop during the holy month of fasting and prayer because people stay away from food during the day. Hence, blood banks run dry. For this reason, Catholics decided to pick up the slack with an initiative open to all the faithful. At the same time, the initiative will raise awareness about organ donation, a practice that is still not widespread in Asia.

Important Church figures in other Asian countries have promoted similar actions. For instance, the late Card Stephen Kim Sou-hwan, the long time archbishop of Seoul, was behind an important organ donation drive in South Korea.

By contrast, Malaysia has few donors. According to the National Transplant Resource Centre, only 196,000 people signed up as organ donors between 1997 and 2011.

The Catholic Church is in favour of every initiative that raises awareness about blood and organ donation. For the catechism, these are noble deeds that must be encouraged because they are signs of generosity and solidarity.

The day organised by the Kristus Aman Chapel is open to Catholics and non-Catholics alike, as well as their family and friends. For more information about the event, click on www.kristusaman.com.
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