As the country joins the global community in commemorating the campaign to raise awareness of the importance of organ transplantation and donation, the Ministry of Health calls on members of the public to accept the gift of life through donation of organs. Although the call is not limited to organs, but also to blood and tissues.
A number of people lose their lives due to the unavailability of organs that could save them, so this campaign aims to help people realize that volunteering to donate their organs during their lifetime or after their death can change the lives of many other people. The 2022 Organ Donation Campaign is commemorated under the theme “A Life After Mine” which serves as a clear call to South Africans to save lives through organ donation.
Organ donation is a gift of life, and a single organ donor can save up to seven lives while improving the quality of life for many people by removing the emotional and psychological burden.
Currently, South Africa has around 2,780 people on the waiting list for organ donation and transplantation, including kidneys, livers, hearts and lungs, while around 189 people have lost their lives in waiting for someone to gift them a vital organ during the same period. These waiting lists are growing as more people, including young children, die almost every day while waiting for organs.
Although the general public is aware of blood donation, there is little knowledge about organ donation. We do not believe that the lack of organ donation or involvement has anything to do with cultural and religious beliefs but limited knowledge, which is why the department has partnered with stakeholders such as Organ Donation Foundation, including civil society organizations in the sector to raise and support awareness of this important campaign.
A number of people have benefited from organ donation across cultural and religious differences, and their lives have been changed.
Anyone can volunteer to donate their organs once they turn 18. The two common forms of organ donation include living donation in which living donors can donate organs such as a kidney and part of a liver, as human beings can survive with a kidney and the liver is the only known organ in the body. to regenerate, allowing these organs to be transplanted while the donor is still alive.
Another form of organ donation is known as deceased donation which involves an organ transplant to a living person from a consenting deceased donor. Organ donor volunteers can participate in this lifesaving campaign by going to the nearest hospital to ask for help on the steps to donate, or by directly contacting the provincial or national Ministry of Health. health. Alternatively, they can go to the organ donation foundation website (www.odf.org.za(link is external)) and register as a donor. People are encouraged to talk with their families and loved ones once they have decided to register for organ donation.
The department has approved a number of organ donations and transplants over the past few years and months between living donors and their recipients to save the lives of those who could not survive the next day without an organ transplant. The kidneys and liver are the two most frequently needed organs for various reasons, but a common cause of liver failure in children is biliary atresia, often misdiagnosed as jaundice.
We call on all South Africans, especially healthcare workers, especially our healthcare workers, to be part of the organ donor network to reduce the backlog to save lives.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of the Republic of South Africa, Department of Health.