09.08.2015

Spain explains its leadership position in organ donation in Australia

The Director of the Spanish Transplant Organisation, Rafael Matesanz, participated in a seminar by the Instituto Cervantes-SACF Chair

Spain explains its leadership position in organ donation in Australia

The Instituto Cervantes in Sydney organised a seminar with Dr Rafael Matesanz, Founder and Director of the Spanish Transplant Organisation (ONT). The event was intended to explain Spain’s success in the area of transplants and ways to export this model to Australia, and was attended by several experts in the area.

The seminar took place as part of the Instituto Cervantes-SACF Chair. Developed by the Institute’s centre in Sydney with the support of the Council Foundation, the event acts as a science forum for the international promotion and development of Spanish academic culture in Australia. It was also sponsored by NSW Trade and Investment, Sydney Health District, ShareLife, the University of Sydney and the Embassy of Spain in Canberra.

Rafael Matesanz, who has become an international leader in the field, has been the Director of the Spanish Transplant Organisation since 1989. This institution falls under the Spanish Ministry of Health, Social Services and Equality, which is in charge of developing competencies related to organ, tissue and cell donation and clinical use. Thanks to the creation of this organisation, Spain went from 14 donors per million to 35.3 in 2011. This entailed a change in the Spain’s position in terms of donation rates from the medium-low range to the highest rate not only in Europe, but in the whole world.

According to the Founder of the ONT, “the success of the Spanish model is mainly due to its management model. This means having the right people in the right place at the right time.” As a matter of fact, it has been proven that organ and tissue donation rates in deceased persons improves considerably in those countries which follow the Spanish model. Rafael Matesanz’s presence in Sydney responds to this challenge and, although the seminar focused on legislation in New South Wales, the goal is for it to be extended to the rest of the country as soon as possible.

Photo: Instituto Cervantes

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