Public attitudes to organ donation among a sample of urban-dwelling South African adults: a 2012 study

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Abstract

Background:

Published literature suggests that attitudes toward organ donation in South Africa are generally positive. However, there has been a decline in the actual number of transplants taking place annually, which is not consistent with expressed positive attitudes.

Objectives:

Assess the attitudes of a representative sample of the urban-dwelling South African population toward organ donation and how these might affect transplant numbers.

Methods:

A structured questionnaire was utilized to measure attitudes among a study population of 1048 adults in five major metropolitan areas of South Africa. Field work was undertaken by supervised field workers. Written informed consent was obtained from all participants.

Results:

Eighty-nine percent (89%) of respondents had heard of organ donation, and 77% indicated that they would accept an organ transplant if necessary. Seventy percent (70%) of respondents specified they would be willing to donate their own organs after death, while 67% expressed willingness to donate a relative's organs after death. Participants were more positive about kidney donation than any other organ.

Conclusion:

Public attitudes toward organ donation among this population are generally positive. Recommendations include cultural and linguistic sensitivity in educational and advertising campaigns, as well as extensive research into other possible causes of organ shortage.

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