Many in South Africa are unaware that tissue donation exists at all, until a loved one needs a tissue transplant. For many, tissue has to be imported at exorbitant cost from other countries, which excludes large sections of the population who cannot afford these costs.
This initiative is aimed at raising awareness and mobilizing the South African public towards signing up as tissue donors, raising awareness for Next of Kin on the windows related to early retrieval of tissue from their loved ones, ultimately resulting in stored tissue for all South Africans in need.
Many children and others die from burn injury in South Africa every month and donor skin can save their lives.
In the case of a national emergency such as runaway fires, many will need skin in order to survive their injuries.
Donor skin is used as a temporary covering and is the gold standard of dressings, other than one’s own skin. Donor skin lasts up to 3 weeks, in which time the burn patient can be stabilized and either more donor skin, or their own skin is used to keep the wound closed.
For many individuals, a corneal transplant may be their only hope of restoring their vision. Cornea transplants may be necessary when the cornea is cloudy or damaged due to disease, injury, accident, or hereditary conditions.
Under these conditions, the cornea must be removed and replaced with healthy donor tissue. The procedure is successful in restoring sight and, in some cases, providing sight for the first time.
The heart has four valves. These valves open and close to let blood pass through and keep blood from flowing in the wrong direction.
There are two main problems that can affect heart valves: Narrowing or leaking. In many cases, these problems can be repaired through surgery. But if a valve cannot be repaired it may need to be replaced.
Valve replacement surgery can eliminate the symptoms and health risks associated with valve disease.
Donated bone is very useful for patients who may require a bone graft e.g. for spinal deformity and bone tumors, complex joint revision surgery and a variety of general orthopedic procedures.
Bone graft can be used in many ways to aid patients who have bone defects and ultimately improves mobility and function.
Windows for viable tissue retrieval after death
Cornea- within 12 hours
Skin – within 24 hours
Heart valves – within 24-36 hours
Bone – up to 4-5 days