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Kidney and bladder health

Updated 02 September 2019

KZN woman is one of the lucky few patients among those waiting for an organ donation

August is Organ Donor Month – and kidneys are the most transplanted organ in South Africa.

KwaZulu Natal – Tanya Nel (22) has been on the waiting list for a kidney transplant for over a year. 

She has a rare genetic disorder, NPHP3 allele (Nephrocystin 3), which results in end-stage renal failure. “I was told I had a renal failure last year June; then I was admitted to Gateway Hospital where I spent 19 days,” says Tanya. 

'Have a heart'

After more tests which included scans, renal, liver, and bone marrow biopsies, she was diagnosed with irreversible renal failure, extremely high cholesterol, hyperlipidaemia, an enlarged spleen with granulomas, and abnormal liver function.

According to her mother Annatjie, when Tanya returned home, it was like having a new baby because of her deteriorating health. 

“We’ve adapted to make her life easier as a family and worked together in helping her. August is Organ Donor Month, [so] I wish most people who have a heart and [are] willing to help could register to donate… organs or tissues,” says Annatjie.

A match

Tanya says she considers herself lucky because her father has been found to be a donor match and has offered part of his kidney.

“The test showed that he is a perfect match, and if all goes well, we will both wear the scars of his amazing gift in a few months,” says Tanya.

Have the discussion 

To those in need, having an organ donated is an invaluable gift.

According to Janet Legemaate of the Organ Donor Foundation, the more people become aware of the importance of organ donation, the more likely they are to register as donors. 

Legemaate says there is a need for people to talk about being organ donors in their homes. 

“Imagine that a close family member needed a transplant and asked themselves what they would do if they knew they could save their life.”

Stats show there are approximately 4 300 people in South Africa waiting for transplants yet only 0.2% of the population are registered as donors 

“Hero777 has played a big role in registering organ donors [and has managed to get] around 28 000 organ and tissue donors,” says Legemaate.

Hero777 was established in 2016 and aims to increase awareness about organ and tissue donation in South Africa. The organisations aims to get seven people to tell seven friends, and if this can be repeated seve times, over 800 000 people will have been reached.

– Health-e News

Image credit: iStock