Posted on 2018-07-25 00:00:00
Demonstrating that a diverse range of companies and institutions can become a member of Proudly South African, The Centre for Tissue Engineering (CTE) at Tshwane University of Technology recently signed a membership agreement with the country’s buy local advocacy campaign.
Currently, less than 0.2% of the country’s population is registered as an organ and/or tissue donor, whilst many patients remain on transplant lists for want of a match. A lack of understanding around the harvesting of organs and tissue deters many people from committing to signing up as a donor.
This has a serious impact on hundreds of patients whose lives could either be saved or changed significantly for the better if a donor was found.
One human tissue donation, which includes corneas, skin, bone, tendons and heart valves can treat 65 or even more patients. Corneas can give the gift of sight to the blind or restore the sight of someone who has lost their eyesight as a result of sickness or an accident. The very top layer of the skin, the epidermis, is used in skin grafts, and in a country where domestic fires maim thousands of people, many of them children, every year, a skin donation can be the difference between life and death. Bone tissue transplants are the second most common performed on patients, second only to blood transfusions. Bone transplantation can help patients who have suffered bone loss due to trauma, injury or disease and heart valves can be used to correct abnormalities of the heart without the necessity of an entire heart transplant.
The Tissue Bank at the Centre for Tissue Engineering is a non-profit organization that recovers, screens, tests, processes, stores and distributes human tissue acquired from deceased donors. Any healthy individual between the ages of 15 and 80 can donate tissue, at no cost.
Said Cleo Ndhlovu, Manager of the Centre, “The Proudly South African platform is an important one for us as they can assist us in reaching more people and gaining more donor support. It also endorses our Centre as one of excellence as we had to meet the same membership criteria as any other commercial enterprise.”
CEO of Proudly SA, Eustace Mashimbye added, “This is a first for Proudly SA in signing up a medical facility, but we support the drive to inform South Africans from all racial groups about the importance of becoming an organ and tissue donor.”