| Abstract|| |
We conducted a survey of opinion of a sample of senior high school students in Saudi Arabia to evaluate their awareness of the importance of organ donation and concept of brain death. There were 839 students from nine schools, 745 males and 94 females. The participants were not primed about these topics before answering the questionnaire, which was answered at school. The study group declared the level of education of the parents. Twenty three percent knew about the Saudi Center for Organ Transplantation, but 61% could only guess its function. Fifty eight percent could not differentiate between "natural 11 death and brain death and 93% were not aware of how to document it. Elaboration on these questions showed variable explanations. Sixty eight percent agreed to donate organs of relatives in case of brain death, and 91% would donate a kidney to their relatives. However, 38% agreed to donate organs of their own to organ failure patients other then relatives. Thirty five percent knew about the organ donation cards, but only 12% carried them, and only 48% would consent to include the word "donor" on their driving licenses. Forty two percent knew about the opinion of Islamic religion toward organ donation. Thirty one percent agreed to send patients for organ transplantation abroad due to their belief that transplantation technology in Saudi Arabia is lacking, There were no significant differences in the answers according to schools, gender, students of different curricula, having a friend or relative with organ failure, or the level of the education of the parents. This study suggests the great need for education of the new generation about the importance of organ donation and the concept of brain death. We believe that including these topics in the curricula of schools would help disseminating this knowledge to the public in Saudi Arabia.
Keywords: Brain-death, Organ donation, Saudi Arabia, Survey.
|How to cite this article:|
Shaheen FA, Souqiyyeh MZ, Al-Attar B, Jaralla A, Al Swailem AR. Survey of Opinion of Secondary School Students on Organ Donation. Saudi J Kidney Dis Transpl 1996;7:131-4
|How to cite this URL:|
Shaheen FA, Souqiyyeh MZ, Al-Attar B, Jaralla A, Al Swailem AR. Survey of Opinion of Secondary School Students on Organ Donation. Saudi J Kidney Dis Transpl [serial online] 1996 [cited 2020 Mar 31];7:131-4. Available from: http://www.sjkdt.org/text.asp?1996/7/2/131/39513
| Introduction|| |
There is a universal shortage of cadaver organ donors, which deeply affects organ transplantation program , . Failure of consenting of the families of the brain dead subjects to donate organs is one of the major factors which lead to this shortage, due to the decreased awareness of the public about the importance of organ donation and the concept of brain death , .
In Saudi Arabia, there has been a recent decline in consenting for organ donation  . We carried out a survey of opinion of a sample of young students in Saudi Arabia to evaluate their awareness of the above issues in an attempt to establish better strategies for educating the public in the future.
| Subjects and Methods|| |
We conducted a survey of opinion about organ donation and awareness of the concept of brain death on senior high school students in Riyadh and Jeddah cities in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in 1995. There were 839 students from nine schools. Of these 745 were males and 94 were females. The age of the study group was between 16 and 18 years. The questionnaire was given to the students to answer at school. The number of subjects in the survey who had the curriculum focusing on science was not significantly different from those who had the curriculum focusing on human studies. The curriculum till graduation from secondary schools in Saudi Arabia does not have clear information about the concept of brain death or the importance of organ donation. Information about the level of education of the parents was requested in the questionnaire. Elaboration on some of the questions was requested from the study group.
| Statistical Analysis|| |
We used the proportion test, the Chisquare test and student "t" test to compare results in the analysis of the paired and unpaired data.
| Results|| |
[Table - 1] shows the responses of the study group on the questions related to their awareness of the existence of Saudi Center for Organ Transplantation (SCOT) previously known as the National Kidney Foundation (NKF). Twenty three percent knew about the center, while 61% knew about its function.
[Table - 2] shows the responses about the awareness of the study group to the concept of brain death. Fifty eight percent were not aware of the exact difference between "natural" death and brain death and 93% were not aware of how to document brain death. Elaboration on the answers of these questions by the study group showed variable explanations.
[Table - 3] shows the respondents about the awareness of the study group to the importance of organ donation. Sixty eight percent agreed to donate organs of relatives in case of brain death and 91% would donate a kidney to their relatives. However, only 38% agree to donate their own organs to patients other than relatives. Thirty five percent knew about the organ donation cards, however, only 12% carried them and only 48% would agree to including the word "donor" on their driving license. Forty two percent knew about the opinion of Islamic religion towards organ donation. Thirty one percent wanted to send patients abroad, on the basis that the expertise in the Kingdom was not advanced enough to carry out organ transplantation. In the above three areas of inquiry there were no significant differences among schools, gender, or students in different curricula. Also the responders in the three areas of the inquiry were not affected by having a relative or a friend with organ failure. The level of the education of the parents did not exert any significant effect on the answers of the study group.
| Discussion|| |
There have been a number of surveys about the public awareness of the concept of brain death and organ donation ,, , including a large survey in Saudi Arabia  . Early education about these issues at school was suggested by some surveys  . Our study comes ten years after the establishing of the Saudi Center for Organ Transplantation SCOT), which is a governmental agency co-coordinating for organ transplantation in Saudi Arabia, and has some important implications.
In a country, such as in Saudi Arabia, which has a large percentage of young generation who attend schools, it is necessary to have a strategy of education about these issues.
In our study the awareness of existence of SCOT was low, while the percentage of knowledge about its function was three times higher. It might be that the study group were misled by the question and thought it was about the address of the center, because they were better aware about its goals. Certainly the study group had a vague idea about the concept of brain death, because elaboration on the questions related to the subject may explain the confusion of students. In our study, like the previous survey in Saudi Arabia, a large percentage agree to donate organs to relatives and to consent to donate organs of a deceased relative. However, less than half of the study group only agreed to donate to patients outside the family. This may reflect the family oriented social structure in Saudi Arabia. Better education of the students at school about the importance of organ donation may clarify this point.
There were previous reports about the Islamic opinion toward organ donation  . In our study less than half of the study group knew about the approval of scholars of Islam of organ donation from living and cadaveric donors. More education is needed about this important factor which influences consenting of the families for organ donation of their brain dead relatives.
Similarly more education is needed about the availability of the transplantation services in the Kingdom and their achievements, since one third of the students approved sending the organ failure patients abroad.
We conclude that there is little awareness by the new generation in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia of the importance of organ donation and transplantation and to the importance of the concept of brain death.
Including these issues in the curriculum of the high schools in Saudi Arabia may have an impact on the future of organ transplantation.
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Faissal A.M Shaheen
Director & Consultant Nephrobgist, Saudi Center for Organ Transplantation, P.O. Box 27049, Riyadh 11417
[Table - 1], [Table - 2], [Table - 3]