What’s behind SA’s surge in bone marrow stem cell donations?

Thousands of youth have signed up to become bone marrow stem cell donors since South Africa became the second country in the world to allow people aged 16 to become donors in 2020.

At any given time, there are 200 patients awaiting a bone marrow stem cell transplant — according to the South African Bone Marrow Registry (SABMR) — and without a suitable donor match, their chance of survival is slim. 

The registry recorded a 65% increase in young donors in 2021. This translates to more than 3 000 young South Africans joining the registry, which has more than 73 000 donors up to the eligible age of 45 years. 

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Eunice Stoltz
Eunice Stoltz is a general news reporter at the Mail & Guardian.

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