Cause and Effect of the Indian Act

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Organ Donation in Aboriginal Communities


Debra Heberlein

Health Science 130
Dr. Rochelle Tucker
March 20, 2010

The incidence of diabetes in First Nation people has increased dramatically and is continually rising. This is partly due to traditional lifestyle and food changes. Pollution and lack of access have prevented First Nation people from continuing their traditional diet. Poverty, unemployment and unfit housing conditions in isolated communities are also factors to consider. First Nation elders seem to suffer the most from diabetes and eventually have kidney failure, known as ‘end-stage renal failure’. The only cure at this stage of life is kidney dialysis or a kidney transplant. The health of First Nation communities can benefit from more education of organ donation.

One of the barriers that affects organ donations from First Nation people is the lack of education in the community. An article titled, “Aboriginal Beliefs About Organ Donation: Some Coast Salish Viewpoints” speaks to the issue of lack of education: “While some of the participants supported organ donation, it was apparent that they had little information on the procedure for doing so.” One step towards education would be to provide the history of the donor registry program and explain the registry process. Since, I, personally am unaware of organ donations I simply logged on to the BC donor registry site. It seemed to answer many questions and brought up an opportunity for further dialogue on the subject that I never considered. This can open the door to future donations just by providing education in small increments.

The article goes on to point out another critical view or lack of education: “None of the participants was familiar with the current organ-donor registration system in British Columbia; a registry established in 1977 is the only legally recognized way to register for organ donation (British Columbia...
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