Religion and culture compatible with organ donation

On this June 22, national day of reflection on organ donation and transplantation and recognition of donors, a special program has been developed at the Taaone hospital center. On the program: a conference on the links between Polynesian culture and organ donation, as well as a sharing of experiences between the people concerned. The opportunity to raise awareness. “You have to know that if you are a donor, you can also be a recipient. It is the solidarity of our society” explains Dr. Ouarda Krid, intensive care physician and organ harvesting coordinator. Because this day also aims to break certain clichés which, even today, have tough skin.

“There have been religious leaders who have taken a public stance in favor of organ donation”

Ouarda Krid, intensive care physician and organ harvesting coordinator

Far from clichés, religious institutions do not play a brake role on this issue, as described by Dr. Pascal Testevuide, head of the nephrology department: “There has never been outright opposition from the local religious authorities. On the contrary, they were a support on which we could play. There have been religious leaders who have publicly positioned themselves for organ donation”. Indeed, the Protestant Ma’ohi Church had publicly stated in 2019 that it was in favor of organ donation.

If it is from the side of the Protestants that came the strongest sign of support for the question of transplants, the other religions are not left out: “Religions are more pro organ donation. In Spain they are very Catholic and they are the champions in this area. The only religion that officially opposes it is Buddhism, since it goes against the principle of reincarnation. Here, there are even Jehovah’s Witnesses who have been transplanted”.

The Legend of Hina

Objections to organ donation can sometimes be justified by Ma’ohi culture. But is the latter really opposed to organ donation? This is the question posed by the encyclopedist Edgar Tetahiotupa. “At the time, there were no transplants. So I approached this question through the legends, like that of Hina and the coconut tree. The eel offered itself, its head was cut off and from this a beautiful tree was born, the coconut palm, which was used to feed people. It is a representation of the gift of his bodily integrity” he says. According to him, traditional legends often depict people who give of themselves for the good of others.

Thus, the main obstacle would be the lack of awareness and discussion, since this forces us to question ourselves about death. Today, 126 patients are waiting for a fenua transplant. Taaone Hospital therefore invites Polynesians to discuss this question: “The first obstacle is that the relatives never raised this issue with the deceased. For or against, it doesn’t matter, we have to talk about it!” insists Ouarda Krid.

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Religion and culture compatible with organ donation

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