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Public attitudes to organ donation in South Africa

R.E. Pike
J.A. Odell
D Kahn


Public attitudes to organ donation may be influenced by cultural beliefs as well as racial prejudices and superstitions. In South Africa we are able to examine these issues from both a Firstand a Third-World perspective. In this study the attitudes of 1 299 urban white, 625 rural black and 826 urban black South Africans were examined.

Eighty-nine per cent of white, 84% of rural black and 76% of urban black South Africans are prepared to donate their own organs. All groups are less willing to donate the organs of close relatives (76% white, 76% rural black and 67% urban black). Most people felt that this decision should be made by the person before death.

Most black people (88%) felt that the race of both donor and recipient were irrelevant. Only 23% of black people were prepared to donate their corneas, compared with the 69% and 70% willing to donate their kidneys and heart respectively