Thursday, 13 June, 2024
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SA medical students use technology to boost organ donation

A group of Stellenbosch University medical students is using technology to raise awareness of organ donation, aiming to reach more than 1m South Africans by the end of August – internationally recognised as Organ Donor Month – and through which it takes less than a minute to register as a donor.

The initiative, driven by Save7,  a non-profit organisation founded by students,  plans to share the message that every South African has the potential to save seven lives by donating their kidneys, heart and lungs after they die, reports IOL.

Third-year medical student, Jonty Wright (20), founded Save7 after meeting patients in hospital who were desperately awaiting organs, and harnessed technology to help them.

First he built a website to raise awareness, and then taught himself to programme an AI chatbot to answer questions about organ donation in South Africa.

“Think of it like ChatGPT, except it's an expert in the field of organ donation,” he said of his invention.

“Awareness about organ donation is especially low among the younger generation, and we needed to make this difficult topic easier for the public to engage with, so we focused our narrative more on 'multiplying life' in the present, than on thinking about death in the future.”

Save7 has also partnered with the Organ Donor Foundation of South Africa to allow users to register as organ donors in less than a minute, and since inception, has developed back-end data systems that simplify the complex administrative processes involved in transplant referrals, and patient support groups.

It also established the first renal patient support group at Tygerberg Hospital, which now boasts 50 members.

Save7 is endorsed by the South African Transplantation Society (SATS), Mediclinic, the Organ Donor Foundation, as well as Stellenbosch University and is entirely student-driven and donor-funded.

 

IOL article – IOL article – Stellenbosch University organ donor drive on a mission to reach 1million next month (Open access)

 

See more from MedicalBrief archives:

 

State launches organ donation awareness campaign

 

Wits boosts organ donor numbers with new procurement strategy

 

Transplant recipients fight declining number of SA organ transplants

 

 

 

 

 

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