COVID-19 Making Organ Transplants More Difficult In South Africa

South Africa has seen an increase in the number of patients who die from organ transplants and donations as a result of the impact of COVID-19.

The South African Organ Donor Foundation said the number of transplants held reduced dramatically while the patients waiting for transplant of their organs had died, not thanks to the problems encountered by the pandemic.

The foundation said since the outbreak of COVID-19, there has been a sharp fall in the number of deaths. Explaining the reason behind the gory statistics, he said the ICU where the transplant is held was used as an isolation centre during COVID-19.

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Members of the public had limited access to the hospitals due to the protective protocols employed during the pandemic. 

South Africa has reported about 3m cases with 89,500 deaths so far. 

“Both live and deceased donor transplants have been severely affected, creating a compounded negative outcome for patients needing urgent transplants who will die if not immediately helped,” the foundation said.

South Africa has the best organ transplant unit in Africa with as many as 5,000 adults and children waiting for a cornea transplant or some organ to give them a longer shot at life. 

The years 2019 and 2018 saw South Africa perform almost 400 cases of transplants. There are 1.8 organ donors per million people in South Africa. 

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“This is a complex process and can often disqualify a potential donor if a matching recipient cannot be found. It is therefore – in light of the COVID-19 pandemic – critical that the pool of available donors is bigger to increase the chance for a suitable match,”  the organ donor foundation appealed to locals,

“More registered organ and tissue donors will help alleviate the unusual pressure being placed by COVID-19 on transplantation,” the Foundation was quoted as saying by Anadolu Agency.

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