(The isiXhosa word “Uluntu” meaning “humanity” and “community”)
The Organ Donor Foundation is in the process of rolling out the ULUNTU Awareness Campaign in vulnerable communities as a first step towards breaking through cultural barriers in order to increase organ and tissue donor consents.

Preliminary studies have shown that having no knowledge, limited knowledge, or an understanding framed by misinformation or myths, impacts an individual’s response to the concept of organ donation and transplantation. Additionally, cultural and traditional beliefs play a major role.

At present there are no formal programmes in vulnerable communities to educate and inform people about the concept of organ transplantation. Tied to this, many individuals are not aware of the high incidences of organ failure or the likelihood that they, a family member, close friend or acquaintance, could very well find themselves on dialysis and needing a lifesaving transplant.

Thus a holistic approach will be used involving research in the form of information gathering with Transplant Coordinators from feeder hospitals to baseline surveys, which will be carried out with the communities. The awareness drive will be done using community participative methods and grassroots outreach that has been developed to directly address cultural and traditional barriers to organ and tissue donation and includes preventative education.

The Organ Donor Foundation is currently working towards implementing the organ donor database/registry as an interactive tool to be used by the Transplant Coordinators during the referral and consent stage as an aid to speed up and facilitate the process by making it easier for the Transplant Coordinators to contact the next of kin due to having access to the contact details and as a way to facilitate the conversation during the decision making stage.

The database also serves as a powerful instrument at that time when consent is needed to reassure family members of ones intention to donate, which makes the family’s decision an easier one to make.