Organ transplants have slowly decreased each year since 2009 (when 724 such transplants were carried out), finally reaching a nine-year low in 2016 with only 512 transplants having taken place.
Currently, there are 4 300 South Africans who are awaiting an organ or cornea transplant and with donor numbers gradually decreasing, the Organ Donation Foundation of South Africa (ODFSA) needs your help to save their lives.
According to Samantha Nicholls, Executive Director of ODFSA, this is not only a South African problem.
“There’s a shortage of donors around the world, not only in South Africa,” Samantha said.
Similar to donating blood, you don’t only save one life by donating your organs – you can save up to seven lives.
Your heart, liver, and pancreas can save three lives, with your kidneys and lungs able to help up to four more people.
Anybody can be an organ/ tissue donor, even if you have an existing medical condition, because the decision on which organs or tissue can be used is undertaken at the time of death.
When it comes to donating organs, your organs are retrieved when you are declared brain dead.
Once you are brain dead, your body is placed on respirators and the organs are then retrieved from your body.
Samantha also stated that only 15–20 per cent of families give consent for their loved ones’ organs to be retrieved, and a lot of problems stem from people not being educated on the situation.
If you would like to become an organ donor or find out more information about being an organ donor, you can contact the ODFSA’s toll-free line on 0800 22 66 11 or visit their website – www.odf.org.za.
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