Severe shortage of organ donors in SA

Encouraging organ donation from Shutterstock
Encouraging organ donation from Shutterstock

The Organ Donor Foundation is making an urgent plea to the media in the greater Pretoria, Nelspruit and Pietersburg areas, to assist the transplant centres and their teams to address the severe shortage of organs available for transplantation. 

Medical decision makers are severely stressed with the rapidly increasing demand for life-saving organ transplants and on a daily basis patients are dying as a result of insufficient organ referrals from the Greater Pretoria area. 

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This flies in the face of the alarmingly high decrease in solid organs being transplanted from cadaver organ donors over the last 10 years in the greater Pretoria/Tshwane area.

Transplant service providers in the public and private sectors are joining forces to urgently address this crisis by calling a united forum at a media session, which will be held at the Pretoria Botanical Gardens.

Leaders in transplantation and trauma units, along with the Organ Donor Foundation will address the media to call on the public, private sector and Government representatives to urgently underscore the desperate need for life-saving organ transplants in Pretoria.

Increasing demand for life-saving transplants 
In Pretoria, there has been a 50% increase in the number of living related and unrelated transplants performed as an urgent measure to address the rapid decline of cadaveric donations. However, this measure is inadequate to address the increasing demand for life-saving transplants.  

Currently in the greater Pretoria area, there are approximately 900 patients on dialysis.  Dialysis is a limited resource that is very expensive and not accessible to everyone that needs life-support treatment building up towards a possible transplant. 

As a result, these unfortunate patients who could’ve received a transplant will not be eligible to receive this treatment because the existing space on the dialysis infrastructure is being occupied by current patients waiting for life-saving transplants.  

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In attendance at this media session, the media can interview patients desperately awaiting life-saving transplants as well as fortunate recipients who have received a transplant and the dramatic impact it has had on their lives.  
We appeal to the media to please attend this session as this has become a desperate situation that needs to be addressed. This is not only for the sake of those waiting for a life-saving transplant but especially for those who do not qualify for a transplant as the current infrastructure does not allow it. 

It is absolutely crucial that cadaver transplants must increase to address this traumatic problem.  
Many die waiting
Nationally there are over 4,300 South Africans awaiting an organ and cornea transplant.  Less than 600 transplants are performed each year and many adults and children die waiting for a life-saving transplant.
One person can Save Seven Lives when they become an organ donor – this includes the use of 1 heart, 2 lungs, 2 kidneys, 1 liver and 1 pancreas. One donor can also improve the quality of life of up to 50 more people by donating their tissue – their skin, bone, heart valves and corneas.

Read: Character counts when it comes to organ, blood donations

Did you know:  In South Africa there are less than 0.2% of the population who are registered organ donors?

If compared to other countries such as the USA, who have 37% of their population as registered organ donors and Australia (whose awareness campaigns are entirely funded by their Government) who have 24% of their population as registered organ donors – we must admit that this is an extremely shocking and low statistic for South Africa.
The public are encouraged to become donors by visiting the Organ Donor Foundation’s website or calling their Toll Free Line on 0800 22 66 11.  

It’s a simple procedure to sign up, only takes a few minutes and is free of charge.  Please remember to discuss the decision with your family as they will need to give consent at the time of your death.

One organ donor can Save Seven Lives! Please Say Yes to Organ Donation.

Read More:

Blood vessels reorganise after face transplants
Women with transplanted wombs trying for pregnancy
SA needs organ donors

Image: Medical doctor (cardiologist) with stethoscope holding sign from Shutterstock.

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