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Dublin: 31.01.2015 09.10PM
Facebook said today its new organ donation tool app for Timeline has gone live in Ireland today. By clicking a new health and well-being button, users can declare their willingness to become an organ donor, share that information with friends and family, and ultimately help save lives.
Thousands of Irish people carry organ donor cards in their wallets or handbags but without the knowledge of friends or family.
People in Ireland who wish to become an organ donor simply need to tell a next of kin. Facebook's Timeline tool will make it far easier for individuals to share their wishes with family members. Raising awareness is crucial to increasing organ donation rates, which currently stand at just more than 100 people annually.
"Small acts of kindness happen every day on Facebook but we hope that our tool will use the power of friendship to save lives," Facebook's director of policy Simon Milner said.
“More than 2m people in Ireland will be able to show on their Timelines that they wish to be an organ donor. We hope that Irish Facebook users will be able to reduce the number of people who die needlessly waiting for an organ each year."
There is strong evidence that increasing awareness of donors' wishes saves lives. Typically, only 50pc of those who wish to donate organs after death let their families know, while relatives who know about wishes to donate are 50pc more likely to agree to donation.
Each time consent is given for organ donation the lives of up to nine people can be saved or improved.
As part of the launch of the new Timeline tool, Facebook is highlighting a page on Citizens Information that gives information about organ donation in Ireland.
“Organ transplantation can have a transformational effect on the life of a recipient," Ireland's Health Minister James Reilly, TD, said.
“Quality of life can be enhanced beyond measure and precious extra years of life added. Ironically though, the success of transplantation has led to organ shortages in Ireland and throughout Europe, and so I strongly encourage families to embrace the vital, generous, live-changing decision to donate organs."