Organ transplantation is the treatment of choice for organ failure, but organs are scarce and their availability is affected by relational ties, religious beliefs, cultural influences, body integrity, medical mistrust, and other factors. This aim of this study was to assess the knowledge, attitudes, and practices of Palestinian population with respect to organ donation.
In this cross-sectional study, we used a validated questionnaire delivered by land telephone to collect data on the knowledge, attitudes, and practices relating to organ donation in the general population of the West Bank. Stratified sampling and simple random sampling were applied using data obtained from the Palestinian Telecommunication Group in 2016. Stata version 20 was used for statistical analysis, and a p value less than 0·05 was considered significant. Ethics approval was obtained from the Institutional Review Board of An-Najah National University, and all participants gave verbal informed consent.
The questionnaire was completed by 385 (68%) of 565 people approached (mean age 42 years [SD 14·13]). 266 (69%) respondents were married, 311 (80%) were employed, and 375 (97%) were Muslim. 136 (35%) respondents were university students or post-graduates. Half of participants lived in urban areas. Local religious clergy were reported as being the source of general information by 150 (40%) participants. 273 (71%) respondents had adequate knowledge about organ donation, TV being the main source of information for 207 (60%) participants. 70 (26%) respondents would consider donation only after death, and 342 (67%) respondents would only consider donating to a close family member, whereas 341 (100%) respondents believed that their organ could be misused and 219 (64%) believed organ donation carries a health risk. 135 (49%) respondents preferred to donate to a recipient of the same religion. 266 (78%) individuals believed that organ donation should be promoted in the occupied Palestinian territory, although 188 (55%) reported organ donation to be culturally unacceptable. Religious beliefs and fears of complications were the main obstacles to organ donation. An adequate level of knowledge was associated with the female sex (p=0·008), level of education (p=0·046), monthly income (p=0·041), and marital status (p=0·012), whereas a positive attitude to organ donation was associated with religious score (p=0·015), marital status (p=0·031), and knowledge score (p=0·003). A high level of knowledge was associated with employment and the perception of organ donation as permitted in religion, whereas a positive attitude was associated with single marital status, high level of knowledge, and residence in cities.
Despite adequate knowledge and positive attitudes towards organ donation, a comprehensive study is necessary to fully understand the local characteristics that influence organ donation by Palestinians and to better inform decision makers and future policies.