In South Africa, less than one percent of the population are registered organ donors. This is a worrying fact due to there being many South Africans who are waiting to have life-saving organ transplant surgery.
According to Health24, in 2017, less than 0,2% of South Africans registered as organ donors. This is affecting South Africa as there are more than 4 300 adults and children who are waiting to have an organ or a corneal transplant.
By registering as an organ donor, you are giving someone the gift of life. It’s something that can save the lives of up to seven people who really need organs.
How to register:
Visit the website: www.odf.org.za or give the foundation a phone call: 0800 22 66 11
Once you have signed up, you will receive a card to carry with you which states that you would like your organs to be donated.
Take a look at the FAQs on Organ Donation to help make your decision:
The process is straightforward. Register online or call the Organ Donors Foundation’s toll-free line on 0800 22 66 11. We will then send you a small organ donor card to fill in and carry in your wallet. We will also send you a sticker to put on your ID document and on your driver’s license. It is very important to discuss the decision with your family. Let them know that you want to donate your organs/tissue after death. Ask them to honour your wish when you die.
Any person who is in good health and is clear of defined chronic diseases that might adversely affect the recipient will be considered as a possible donor.
Having a medical condition does not necessarily prevent a person from becoming an organ/tissue donor. The decision about which organs/tissue will be transplanted will be established at your time of death.
No. Medical tests will only be carried out at the time of death. This will involve medical professionals evaluating your medical and social history, carrying out blood and culture tests and conducting a physical examination. This is done to ensure that your organs and tissue are suitable for donation.
An organ transplant takes place after an individual has been declared brain dead but is still being supported on a respirator, whereas tissue retrieval can still take place several hours and even days after death.
Another difference is that the recipient will receive the donated organ shortly after retrieval, whilst tissue is usually stored in a special Tissue Bank and is therefore available for use as and when needed.
Your heart, liver and pancreas can save 3 lives and your kidneys and lungs can help up to 4 people. You can save 7 seven lives.
You can help up to 50 people by donating your corneas, skin, bone, tendons and heart valves.
Yes. Please inform your family which organs/tissue you do not wish to donate.
It is essential that organs are removed as soon as possible after brain death has been declared in order to ensure successful transplantation. The legislation requires brain death to be certified by two independent doctors.
In the case of tissue, a donation can take place up to a few days after death. Many people die at work or on the roads and never make it to the hospital. In such instances an organ donation would not be possible, however, a tissue donation, which is equally needed and valuable, can be successfully carried out.
For privacy and legislative reasons, donors and recipients are not identified.
No, it costs nothing to sign up as an organ/tissue donor.
No, the donor and his/her family will not incur any costs. The hospital or Tissue Bank will cover all medical expenses from the moment your family has given consent for the donation of organs/tissue.
Yes, in some cases. Live donations, such as a kidney are often done between family members because the blood groups and tissue types are more compatible. This ensures a higher success rate.
Two doctors, who are completely independent of the transplant team, have to perform detailed tests before a person can be declared brain dead. The criteria for brain death is very strictly adhered to and accepted medically, legally and ethically in South Africa and internationally.
No. The utmost respect and dignity are given to the donor at all times. The recovery of organs and tissue is carried out with great care by surgeons and trained staff and the process does not change the way the body looks.
Speak to the medical professional attending to your loved one – physician, ICU & trauma unit nurse, neurologist, etc. and inform them of your loved ones wishes. Ask for contact details of the closest transplant centre or call the Organ Donor Foundation’s Toll Free Line 0800 22 66 11 for assistance.
Yes. You can change your mind at any time. Simply tear up your organ donor card and remove the sticker from your ID document and driver’s license. Please inform your family that you no longer wish to be an organ / tissue donor.
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