Ivan Bartolo : solidarity at its best

In a day and age when a number of politicians and their hangers-on make the headlines for reasons of greed, for making hay while the sun shines, its quite a change to have a politician in the news for making a donation rather than for receiving one!

I refer to Ivan Bartolo, PN Member of Parliament who, earlier this week, donated one of his kidneys to a person unknown to him, in order that this person may have a better life.

The donation of a human organ is a second gift of life to the recipient. It is one of the most powerful gifts possible. To donate your organs after your death is commendable; carrying out such a donation while you are still alive, and in your prime, is beyond commendable.

Ivan Bartolo’s noble act serves as a reminder to focus on the need for more organ donations in order to save the lives of some and improve the lives of others.

It takes considerable courage to donate one of your organs when you are still alive. It is something occasionally done by parents to help an ailing child, or by brothers and sisters to help each other in a situation of extreme need. Ivan went beyond familial ties of solidarity – he went one better : to donate of his kidneys to a stranger is an expression of human solidarity in its fullest possible sense. He is a 21st-century good Samaritan.

In Malta, as in most other countries, the gap between the supply and demand of human organs for transplant is widening.  Last year, in order to address this shortfall,  Parliament approved legislation to create a legal framework that facilitates human organ, tissue and cell donation in order to improve the donation process as well as to protect the resulting sensitive information. This legislation provides a framework for registering with the health  authorities the wishes of those wanting to donate an organ, tissue or cells after their death. Information on how to register is available on the Ministry for Health’s website http://www.health.gov.mt.

Donating an organ can save or prolong the life of the recipient or else it can substantially improve the recipient’s quality of life.

Thank You Ivan. You are an example to us all of what solidarity with each other really means and how much it can achieve.

published in The Malta Independent on Sunday : 30 July 2017

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