SOUTH AFRICA – The National Department of Health in South Africa has called upon members of public to embrace the gift of life through organ donation, blood donation and tissue donation during this year’s commemoration of the World Organ Donation Day.
The Department of Health said in a press statement that organ donation is a gift of life and a single organ donor can save up to seven lives, observing that organ donation can help improve the quality of life of many people by removing the emotional and psychological burden.
Every year on August 13, World Organ Donation Day is observed worldwide and South Africa joins the global community to commemorate the campaign to raise awareness about the significance of organ transplant and donation.
The 2022 organ donation campaign is commemorated under the theme, “A life after mine” which serves as a clarion call to South Africans to become lifesavers through organ donation, said the Nation Department of Health on behalf of Republic of South Africa.
The Department of Health announced that this year’s campaign aims to help people realize that volunteering to donate their organs while alive or after death can be life-changing for many people, noting that a number of people lose their lives due to the unavailability of organs that could save them.
A number of people have benefitted from organ donation across cultural and religious differences, and their lives have been changed.
The healthcare division disclosed that organ donor volunteers can participate in this life-saving campaign by going to their nearest hospital to ask for assistance on the steps to follow for one to donate or contact the Provincial and/or National Department of Health directly.
The South African department is working closely with relevant healthcare stakeholders like Organ Donation Foundation together with civil society organizations in the sector to raise and sustain awareness about the important campaign.
The call for organ donors comes at a time when the waiting lists for possible donors are growing in the country and many people including young children are dying almost every day while waiting for organs.
The health agency highlights that the two common forms of organ donation include live donations and deceased donation which involves organ transplant to a living person from a consented donor who has passed on.
According to the executive department, South Africa has around 2,780 people waitlisted for organ donation and transplant which include kidney, liver, heart, lung and other vital organs.
The department further pointed out that about 189 people lost their lives while waiting for someone to gift them with a life-saving organ during the same period.
“Although the wider public is aware of blood donation, there is little knowledge when it comes to organ donation. We don’t believe lack of organ donation or involvement has nothing to do with cultural and religious beliefs but limited knowledge,” noted the National Department of Health.
The governmental health agency reaffirmed that anyone can volunteer to donate their organs once they reach 18 years of age, adding that people should have the discussions with their families and loved ones once they decide to sign up for organ donation.
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