Australia joins Facebook organ donation community

Facebook has added Australia to its list of countries that enable users to designate themselves organ donors as part of its push to spread the word about organ donation internationally.

Last week, Facebook announced that users in the US and the UK could show their organ donation status in the Health and Wellbeing section of their pages. As of today, users in Australia and the Netherlands can also use the function.

Ticking the organ donor box does not sign users up to official organ donation registers but provides a direct link to Australia's Organ Donor Register at www.donatelife.gov.au.

Parliamentary Secretary for Health and Ageing Catherine King said the function would allow Australians to start a conversation about their wish to become an organ and tissue donor.

"Australians can now indicate that they have registered as an organ and tissue donor on their Facebook Timeline,” Ms King said in a statement. “This information will appear in the news feeds of their Facebook friends which can help to start a conversation about their organ and tissue donation wishes.”

Facebook is an important tool for increasing awareness of organ and tissue donation, with the DonateLife Facebook page now having close to 50,000 fans, she said.

Facebook users can indicate they are a registered organ and tissue donor on their Facebook Timeline by clicking on "Life Event", selecting "Health and Wellness" and choosing "organ donor".

"The Facebook Timeline does not replace the need for Australians to register their decision to become an organ and tissue donor on the Australian Organ Donor Register (AODR), Australia's only nationally recognised register for organ and tissue donation for transplantation," Ms King said.

She said the AODR ensures individual's donation decision can be verified 24 hours a day, seven days a week by authorised medical personnel, anywhere in Australia.

Facebook's COO Sheryl Sandberg said the company believed that the new organ donor tool could help drive broader awareness about organ and tissue donation and prompt more families to discuss their donation wishes.

Posted in Australian eHealth

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