Since the beginning, organ donation has been a controversial topic. The public opinion on the subject greatly varies where a vast majority stands in opposition to the idea of donating one’s organs. This opposition is based on different reasons including education, knowledge, socioeconomic status, and religious beliefs of the individuals.
Organ Donation & Religious Beliefs
In countries like Pakistan where religion is prioritized, organ donation is rejected by most individuals. Many people believe that the human body is a sacred trust from God and harming it or amputating it to harvest organs is a sin. Believers believe in the reincarnation of the human body on the day of judgment therefore it would be wrong to harm the body of somebody they loved as this would interfere with the process of reincarnation. The fear of organ donation developing as an illegal trade for financial incentives also hinders the development of this concept.
Organ Donation in Islam
The teachings of Islam promote love and encourage the followers to be helpful to each other. The concept that saving a single life is synonymous with saving the entire humanity clearly states the religious standing on the matter of organ donation. Hence, there is a section that rules in the favor of organ donation claiming that helping a fellow human being by donating one’s organs is acceptable and praised by God. This difference in opinion greatly stems from the different degrees of education and awareness.
Education Level affecting the ratio of Organ Donation
Studies have revealed that people with higher educational qualifications in favor of organ donation. They are also more knowledgeable regarding the subject, whereas people with low education condemn the act. This relates directly to the socio-economic standing of the people as those with better economic prospects are more informed and hence more open and accepting towards the idea of organ donation while those with a challenging economic background are ignorant.
Economic Development and its correlation with Organ Donation Awareness
Underdeveloped countries face the problem of a general lack of knowledge and understanding about organ donation. The current literacy rate of Pakistan is 58% (2020) and with 63.09% (2017) of the total population living in rural areas with limited facilities, exposure and understanding of organ donation are greatly lacking.
Another factor influencing the organ donation decision is social acceptance. Most people refuse the concept due to opposition from relatives. Studies show that people in their 20s and 30s want to donate organs but the un-acceptance of parents or other elders in the family hinders their decisions. In a country such as Pakistan, where family values are considered sacred, taking such a step without the consent of relatives is condemned.
Keeping in mind all the beliefs and limitations mentioned above, it not wrong to say that Pakistan is a developing country with limited resources and the main source of knowledge and awareness in this age is the television. Most people who are familiar with organ donation came to know about it through a television broadcast. Since many rural areas lack technological instruments, a vast majority is left greatly un-informed.
To convince people to donate organs, awareness must created in the remotest areas of Pakistan among all age groups and sects. People must inform and guided properly. Education must be regularized, and religion must be preached accurately.