New organ and tissue donation resources for Illawarra's Orthodox communities

Parliamentary Secretary for Health and Ageing Catherine King today announced the launch of new resources for Greek, Serbian and Macedonian communities to dispel myths and overcome barriers to discussion and decision-making about organ and tissue donation.

The ‘Orthodox Communities in the Illawarra: Discovering and Discussing Organ and Tissue Donation… Together’ project is a collaboration between the Centre for Health Initiatives at the University of Wollongong and the Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District. The project is funded through the Organ and Tissue Authority’s Community Awareness Grants program.

“These new resources support Orthodox communities in the Illawarra region by providing the facts about organ and tissue donation. They will create opportunities for family discussion about donation wishes and assist people in making informed decisions about becoming organ and tissue donors,” said Ms King.

Federal Member for Cunningham Sharon Bird said “research commissioned by the Authority identified barriers to discussion and decision-making about organ and tissue donation among culturally and linguistically diverse communities, including Orthodox communities.”

“This project helps provide culturally appropriate information on organ and tissue donation to Orthodox communities.”

“It used extensive consultation with the Greek, Serbian and Macedonian Orthodox communities in the Illawarra Shoalhaven Region to find out their views about organ and tissue donation,” Ms Bird said.

Federal Member for Throsby Stephen Jones said “not unexpectedly, cultural influences, religious beliefs, personal and community experiences have all proved to be important factors that were found to shape the members of the Orthodox communities’ views about organ and tissue donation.”

“Many Orthodox community members indicated that they wanted culturally appropriate information to help make a decision and to help start a discussion with their friends or family.”

“The resources include official statements from the Greek and Serbian Orthodox Churches on organ and tissue donation as well as position statement on the ethics of transplantation from the Bioethics Committee of The Holy Synod of the Church of Greece,” Mr Jones said.

Community activities will take place during May, June and July 2012 in the Illawarra Region to promote awareness of the new resources among Greek, Serbian and Macedonian Orthodox community members. These resources will also be available nationally for Orthodox communities across Australia.

The resources are available in English, Greek, Serbian and Macedonian at www.donatelife.gov.au/orthodoxresources.