Many willing to accept donor organ – but won't donate

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Published Aug 17, 2017


Surveys conducted by the Organ Donor Foundation this year show 71% of people are not willing to be donors, yet 77% would accept a donor organ.

Countrywide about 4 300 adults and children in dire need of an organ are on a waiting list, yet only 361 transplants could happen last year. In the Western Cape the figure stood at 134 transplants. 

The majority of these, 59, were kidneys to adults from cadavers. There were 41 kidney transplants to adults from related living donors; and 12 kidney transplants to adults from non-related living donors.

One child in Cape Town received a heart transplant; two children received liver transplants; and four children received kidney transplants.

August is organ donor month and the foundation is urging people to register as donors.

Their surveys further showed 8 000 of 50 000 South Africans that should be receiving dialysis are being treated in the country. That means 42 000 thousand people are left to die or don’t know they are suffering from renal failure, the foundation said.

According to the National Kidney Foundation one in 10 people suffer from chronic kidney disease and 10000 people will die of kidney disease or kidney failure annually.

“We have many proud recent firsts including the first HIV-positive donor to HIV-positive recipient kidney transplant performed by Professor Elmi Muller of UCT and her team at Groote Schuur Hospital. 

"Then the first penis transplant was performed by Professor Andre van der Merwe and his team at Tygerberg Hospital in December 2014 - also a world first.

“Despite this, the South African public are slow to register as organ and tissue donors and most shockingly are not prepared to donate despite willing to receive if they need a life-saving organ,” the foundation said.

The SA National Blood Transfusion Service said yesterday it had enough blood for the next 3.4 days, while the WP Blood Transfusion Service had enough blood for two days. 

This year 603 649 people have donated blood. At the end of last year the total stood at 1 029 560 donors. In 2015 there were 1 050 375 blood donors.

To register as an organ donor visit or call toll free 0800226611. It is important to let your family know you have registered as an organ donor and ask them to honour your wish. 

They are required to give consent at the time of your death if you are identified as a potential organ donor.

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