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Attitudes and beliefs of South African medical students toward organ transplantation


  • Conflict of interest: None.

Dr. Sanju Sobnach, Department of General Surgery, Groote Schuur Hospital (OMB), University of Cape Town, Observatory 7925, Cape Town, South Africa.
Tel.: +27 72 5853620; fax: +27 72 5853620;


Sobnach S, Borkum M, Millar AJW, Hoffman R, Muller E, McCurdie F, Kahn D. Attitudes and beliefs of South African medical students toward organ transplantation.
Clin Transplant 2011 DOI: 10.1111/j.1399-0012.2011.01449.x.
© 2011 John Wiley & Sons A/S.

Abstract:  The aim of this study was to assess and analyse the attitudes and beliefs of medical students regarding organ donation, procurement, and transplantation. Medical students at the University of Cape Town were prospectively surveyed using a self-administered questionnaire. There were 346 study participants; the mean age was 21 (range 18–33) yr, 38% were male and 62% was female. Only 8% of respondents were registered donors; clinical and white students constituted the majority of this group. Of the 315 “non-donors,” the main reason for not donating was “I have not really thought about organ donation” (59%). Most students (91%) would accept an artificial organ; and 87% and 52% of students would accept human and animal organs respectively. Muslim students (11%, p < 0.05) and those who believe in an after-life or reincarnation (18%, p = 0.00) were less willing to accept human or animal organs. About 95% of respondents stated that they would like to learn more about transplantation and would keep information about it in their practice but only 18% of respondents knew where to find information for potential donors and recipients. Most students have a favorable attitude toward organ transplantation; religion and belief systems impact on willingness to receive organs.