Efforts to recruit blood stem cell donors in SA get a boost
The SA Bone Marrow Registry (SABMR) will be able to substantially increase its efforts aimed at recruiting blood stem cell donors in South Africa, thanks to a partnership with Be The Match© – a leading NGO in bone marrow transplantation.
Jane Ward, deputy director at the SABMR is ecstatic about the partnership and says it will significantly improve donor recruitment and retention over the next two years.
“Be The Match© is the world’s largest and most diverse registry of blood stem cell donors. It is the hub of a global transplant network that connects 467 leading centres worldwide, including 153 transplant centres in the US and 34 international transplant centres,” says Ward.
“The organisation seeks to partner with like-minded registries by not only making funding available, but to improve the operational structure of registries in Third World countries, which will strengthen our ability to help patients with life-threatening blood disorders.”
Be The Match© specifically chose the SABMR as its South African partner, as it is an internationally recognised registry and fully accredited by the World Marrow Donor Association. It is also the registry with the highest number of donors in South Africa and has been operating successfully for over 30 years.
Erica Jensen at Be The Match© says it’s an honour and a privilege to be able to work with the SABMR, which cares as deeply about saving lives as they do.
“As the recognised leader in marrow transplantation, we continue to develop services and interactive technologies used by transplant experts around the world to reach more patients,” says Jensen.
“We also continue to lead the way in advancing services to speed the transplant process and improving treatments for post-transplant complications. By partnering with the SABMR, it will help us to further cement our commitment to fighting for equal outcomes for all and ensure that more lives are saved.”
In practical terms, the partnership will help the SABMR to:
Gain access to global best practice through knowledge-sharing and benchmarking;
Improve internal systems that will lead to exponential growth in donor applications, especially among those of colour;
Gain access to other international registries for learning and development; and
Speed up the process of matching donors with patients in need of transplants.
The SABMR has about 74 000 donors on its database, roughly about 0,2% of South Africa’s population. Their aim is to increase this exponentially by the end of 2022. “The bigger the donor pool, the better the odds of finding a match,” says Ward.
The Be The Match© partnership is focused on donor recruitment. This still leaves many other services, such as the Patient Assistance Programme, which helps pay for the bone marrow donor search if a patient is unable to do so, underfunded. Anyone wanting to become a donor or would like to make a financial donation to the SA Bone Marrow Registry, please contact the SABMR on 021 447 8638 or email: visit https://sabmr.co.za/
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