Witsies aim to make organ transplants accessible to underprivileged

The Chanceplant Initiative, started by a group of Wits University medical students, aims to create awareness about organ transplantation. The organisation plans to raise money to fund a state of the art transplant unit, for underprivileged patients who cannot afford expensive healthcare. 

What started out as a brief meeting over morning coffee turned into a “runaway train” that will possibly save the lives of many patients who cannot afford the high costs of a organ transplant.

Jared Falcke, a third year Wits medical student, working with transplant surgeon, Dr Anna Sparaco, has founded The Chanceplant Initiative, an organisation that aims to “revamp organ transplantation in South Africa”.

MR CHANCEPLANT: Jared Falcke, 3rd year medical student, is the founder of The Chanceplant Initiative, an organisation which aims to "revamp" organ transplantation. Photo: Provided.

MR CHANCEPLANT: Jared Falcke, 3rd year medical student, is the founder of The Chanceplant Initiative, an organisation which aims to “revamp” organ transplantation. Photo: Provided.

“I say ‘runaway’ only because of the tremendous momentum that exists in the organisation today,” Falcke said.

Falcke said the reason for their focus on organ transplants was because Sparaco was working within a system of “social disparity”, where “people who couldn’t afford private healthcare seemed helpless.”
“Why shouldn’t all people have access to state-of-the-art healthcare if their country can provide exactly that?” he questioned. This was why Falcke along with 46 other medical students, planned to raise awareness and fund-raise for their cause.

The group plan to use the funds to create a “state-of-the-art transplant unit”, in the Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital.

Falcke said this would involve refurbishing existing wards, building new ones, updating an unused surgical theatre, and funding the “super-specialized training” of health professionals who work there.

“It would be South Africa showing the world that we aren’t all about loading-shedding and lions in our streets, but actually flexing our medical muscles and out-performing many of the first world countries,” he said.

Falcke said they also want to encourage an “ethical discourse” to make people comfortable about talking about organ transplants.

Tomorrow night, the group joins a debate adjudicated by Justice Edwin Cameron, on legalising the sale of human organs.

Details about the organisation and the debate can be found on their Facebook page.