As the country celebrates the 50th anniversary of the first ever heart transplant performed by Dr Chris Barnard at Groote Schuur Hospital, the Organ Donor Foundation has called on people to donate their organs when they die.
The foundation says, one person can save the lives of seven people if their organs are donated upon death.
Foundation director of communications Jooste Vermeulen says they are encountering a lot of challenges when they try to convince people to donate their organs.
Vermeulen says lack of infrastructure and religious beliefs are some of the biggest problems that affect people’s decision when it comes to donating.
“As a foundation, it is our mission to keep encouraging everyone to give permission for their organs to be donated once they pass on,” Vermeulen said.
He says more than 4,500 people are currently waiting for organs in South Africa and the number continues to increase.
According to Vermeulen, organs that can be donated are the liver, lungs, heart, heart valves kidneys, pancreas, small intestine and eyes.
“Your tissue can also improve the quality of life for many ill people,” Vermeulen said.
“You can donate your skin, corneas, bone tissue including tendons and cartilage and blood vessels,” Vermeulen added.
He has called on anyone who wishes to register with the Organ Donor Foundation to contact 0800 22 66 11 or email firstname.lastname@example.org