Estimated reading time: 9 minute(s)
While there is still a negative misconception surrounding organ donations within various cultures and beliefs, lives still need to be saved, and one doesn’t have to die to donate certain organs you can still live.
You can donate a kidney, piece of a liver, a single lung if you are a match for the patient in need and still live according to medical reports.
It is said that South Africa only has 300K registered organ donors which equates to less than 1% of the population.
This is according to volunteer ambassador of the Organ Donor Foundation (ODF) Sammy Nandlall who is an awaiting organ recipient as well a registered organ donor.
Nandlall said she never thought there would be a day where she would the one on a waiting list.
“I never imagined that one day I will be one of those needing a kidney transplant. I am on the waiting lost for a cadaver. I am on dialysis three times a week, four hours each session” she said.
ODF is now on a mission to educate people on the importance of organ donation and also dispel the negative misconceptions surrounding it.
Nandlall said that one of their objectives is to significantly increase the number of members of the public registered as organ and tissue donors with the ODF, and to record these registered organ / tissue donors on an easily accessible registry/database which will be used as a means of measuring the success of organ and tissue donor awareness drives
They (ODF) say that a whole lot of misunderstanding surrounding organ donations is unfortunately denying people second chance to life.
Nandlall added that many people are prohibited by their cultural and religious beliefs from donating organs.
Who can be an organ donor?
• Any person in good health and clear of defined chronic diseases that may negatively affect the recipient can be considered as a possible candidate donor.
• Any person of any age, race and gender can donate.
• Be in good health mentally and otherwise.
• Be willing to donate your organs without expecting anything in return.
• You need to get a consent form from a parent or a guardian if you are under 18 years old.
How to become an organ donor?
• Register online at www.odf.org.za or call the Organ Donor Foundation’s toll-free number – 0800 22 66 11.
• You will then be sent an organ donor card which you will need to fill out. Always carry this card with you. *It is suggested you keep it in your wallet or purse.*
• You will receive stickers to place on your ID document and driver’s licence.
• Most importantly discuss your decision with your family so they are aware that you are now an organ donor. Ask your loved ones to respect and honour your decision. It is very important that you make the people around you aware of your wishes.
• Set up a living will in which you indicate your wishes to donate your organs should you die.
It should also be known that it doesn’t cost anything to donate an organ all costs will be covered for you. Candidate can also change their mind at any given time, organ donation is still a personal choice.
Should you wish to change your mind, can tear your card apart, remove sticker from your ID and driver’s license and also inform your friends and family that you no longer want to donate your organs.