The 29th SATS (Southern African Transplantation Society) and 6th SATiBA (South African Tissue Bank Association) Congress - The 3-day event was held from 11-13 November 2022 at the Stellenbosch Institute of Advanced Studies (STIAS), Stellenbosch, Cape Town, South Africa.
Among all the interesting and informative presentations there was a fruitful round table discussion on cornea donation in Africa. Some of the insights gained were:
What you can do to get donor notifications:
Mandatory death notification policy at national level will increase donor volumes.
Challenge: changing national policy takes many years and is very difficult to achieve.
In the meantime...
•start thinking about getting the mandatory death notification: establish relationships at
the trauma center, mortuary, medical examiners office etc.
•involve the hospital management and treating doctors – awareness work starts at the
hospital because even the medical staff lack sufficient knowledge.
•create a mechanism where you receive timely notification one or two hours after death:
maybe with someone who is working on that 8 or 10 hours a day, calling hospital staff on a
•be as independent of other people as possible in getting your information.
•be proactive, do not wait for phone calls or registrations.
•influence the people right at the top at political level.
If you want to develop a strong donation program, you need to have high level
support–whether that’s from a government hospital CEO, someone from the
ministry of health, someone who motivates the employees at the lower levels to
make timely death notifications. To support donation, get the police
commissioners to support donation. Someone needs to be going to push things
If you are working at the management level of the government or hospital or even
of the police department, there is so much risk and so much concern within
donation, that people don’t make this decision or don’t make these types of
decisions, because they are always afraid of what their senior is going
to do about that.
People at the top, at the ministry of health level, the head of the police forces,
they are willing to support with education. We send them to other countries to
learn and to see those donation programs in real in first-hand. But you have to
start at the top.”
We have abandoned the idea of a local project manager, due to current low call volume. A part time person could be considered in future if anybody could suggest such a person that might have the interest.
If anybody has a connection with an operational support centre from which we can find approximate costing and method of operation in the beginning stage as an interim option, when the concept has to be advertised and made part of all health centre's way of working, keeping the low initial volume in mind.
Could it be a consideration to contact all medical aids to add an indicator on insurance or membership cards to reveal from that side whether a person would be considering organ and tissue donation or whether they are totally averse to the concept. That would at least start the decision making process in this delicate matter.
We are segueing into alternative options to lay the groundwork for this important phase of the project.
Wishing you a special season full of togetherness since we have been so deprived of that.
We have liaised with several people in the health sector and advertised to find a suitable project manager to kick the operational support centre off and take it further. To no avail. We are still looking for a project manager.
In the meantime, we, the three person part time project team are building our contacts and making decisions as to the way forward.
One of the considerations is that at 300 calls a year (approximate figure at the moment) which is slightly less than 1 per day – it may be better to start this off with a single person just being on standby – fielding calls with a simple system and capturing the relevant data and using the data to begin a concept. Thereby proving the worth before going all the way to an operational support centre. This can then build the case for a better system down the line.
We found affordable customer service / operational support centre software with an underlying database that may work for us. Suitable training courses were also investigated and found for operational support centre agents.
The stated goal of this project is to build and run (facilitate the development and implementation of) a transplant call centre designed as first and central point of contact to coordinate and communicate the availability of organs and or tissue for donation in South Africa.
The aim of the transplant call centre (this call centre could also be seen as an operational support centre) is to improve the process of referrals for organ and tissue donation (donor assessment, consent, coordination and feedback) in South Africa within an ongoing quality improvement system.
Since all the people involved in this effort has done so on a part time basis and without professional call centre knowledge, it was decided to appoint a project manager on a contractual basis for a few months to create a business plan. This plan should include standard operating procedures (SOP’s) specific to a South African call centre for organ and tissue donation referrals. This business plan should also include an estimation of call volume, anticipated growth, and costing with a focus on sustainability. The money raised through GlobalGiving (GG) will be used to renumerate this person
A lesson learned while fundraising with GG is that South African taxpayers and companies cannot use this platform for tax deductible donations. It was decided to work with the organ donation foundation (ODF) which is set up as a public benefit organisation (PBO) and can issue the tax benefit certificates required.
Good day [donor name],
I would like to wish you all joy, peace, love and abundance...
Congratulations and thank you again! Our project "Saving lives; with organ & tissue transplantation" (52957) on GlobalGiving has raised 100% of its funding goal in September!
We have raised $5,024 (gross) from 51 donors for work towards the project.
To you, my valued supporter in this initial fundraiser; please receive my heartfelt appreciation, we are now a permanent partner of the international community of fundraisers with GlobalGiving!
The next step is now to appoint a project manager to run with our ideas and make it a reality.
New monthly donations to this project are eligible for a 200% match by GlobalGiving as part of the December 2021 Monthly Donor Drive!
until December 17, 2021, at 23:59:59 EST
All the best,
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