Since the early 1970s, NKF has been promoting kidney transplant as it realised then that dialysis was only an alternative treatment for kidney failure.
As part of the NKF’s efforts to increase kidney donation, it obtained kidneys from overseas. In May 1983, with the help of Singapore Airlines, it flew in a kidney from America to be transplanted on a patient. The kidney transplant created two local medical firsts. It was the first kidney donated from overseas and the operation was the first time local doctors had transplanted one kept in cold storage for nearly 48 hours.
Under the Medical Therapy, Education and Research Act or opting-in scheme, there were only about 25,000 opt-ins over 14 years. So, in 1986, the NKF supported the setting up of a presumed consent or opting-out law on kidney donation initiated by the Ministry of Health. The NKF rallied the support of Singaporeans for the passage of the Human Organ Transplant Act (HOTA). The Act presumes that non-Muslims, between the ages of 21 and 60, have pledged their kidneys upon accidental death, unless they have opted out. With public support, the Act was passed in 1987, making Singapore the first Commonwealth country to adopt such legislation. For more information on HOTA, For more information on HOTA, please visit www.liveon.sg.