Number of life saving organ transplants declines in SA

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South Africa has seen a drastic decline in the number of life-saving organ transplants following the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

As the country observes Organ Donor month this August, the Organ Donor Foundation says there are almost 5 000 adults and children on the waiting list of organ and cornea transplants in South Africa.

In 2009, there were over 720 organ and cornea transplants, and according to the foundation’s data, there were only 356 done in 2019, a more than 50% decrease in the last decade.

The foundation’s executive director for operations, Samantha Nicholls says the kidney is the organ that is in most demand in the country.

Nicholls says, “We have noticed a slight decline more recently with registration. During the COVID-19 period, we had quite a few people registering and showing their intention to sign up with organ donors. What we have seen is not the change in registration or the awareness campaign, but more than the number of transplants has declined, so during COVID-19, there was a massive of about 50 to 60% of transplants that have decreased.”