Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg's announcement that the social network will be used as a tool to bridge the gap between organ donors has sparked interest among those who need organs in the UAE.
Currently, Facebook is allowing its users in the US and Britain to use their Timeline page to alert friends and families that they are registered organ donors, or links to organisations that will register them. The registry application, though not yet available in the UAE, has raised some mixed reactions from users in Dubai.
caught up with a few active social media users asking them as to what they think of the application. Though a few expressed apprehension in security concerns on uploading such sensitive content on the Internet, the majority said that it is a great tool to save lives.
"If it is going to help those who need them, then why not," asked Indian national and banker Jitender Bhatia.
"I think the option on the site must be encouraged. I am not aware of the donor rules here in the UAE, but the only other way people can find out that there are organ donors is by looking online, and in other countries through newspaper ads," added Bhatia.
Another Indian national, Sarita Madan Raj, vehemently opposed the idea of sharing personal health records on the Internet. She is a medical transcriptionist by profession. "It's not a safe practice to upload personal medical data online. The chances of misuse are very high. I can place an ad on a website that is specifically designed for such reasons and give only my email as a contact requirement. But no, I do not trust any social media with such information," said Madan Raj.
Brazilian national Marcelo Machado said: "I would indicate the registry option to friends and family. I think it is a smart tool and it's also a speedy way of spreading information."
There are several million people out there who require organs and if the registry option will help them out, then so be it, Machado added.
American national Don Wagner said: "Sure, why not? Everything is going digital nowadays and it is but natural that something of this nature would go live as well."
On the security concerns in the use of the registry, Wagner said that it is a little risky to post health records on the social networking website. "I need to check out how safe the option is, before I go ahead and use it," said Don.
The UAE Ministry of Health had approved transplant of organs from live or dead donors in May 2010. A written consent of the donor and/or his first and second degree relatives is mandatory if the organs are transplanted after the donor's death.
A healthy donor can donate organs after signed written consent is presented and attested by two witnesses.