UKZN’s Clinical Anatomy senior lecturer and College of Health Sciences (CHS) Fellow in the Developing Research, Innovation, Localisation and Leadership in South Africa (DRILL) programme, Dr Brenda De Gama, presented research highlighting some of the reasons behind the shortage of body donors from the Black African population group for medical education.
De Gama delivered an oral presentation at the Ethics Symposium of the XXVIII International Symposium on Morphological Science (ISMS) conference held in Cape Town this August.
As a continuation to observing KwaZulu-Natal’s low willingness towards body donation, especially among the Black African population, De Gama presented a study, conducted along with Anatomy student, Ms Qiniso Zulu, and now lecturer in the Discipline, Ms Cassandra Creamer, titled: Are the Youth of the Shembe Church Willing to Donate their Bodies to Science?
Ninety-percent of the study population aged 18 to 35 reflected an unwillingness to donate their bodies to science, stating religio-cultural beliefs as predominantly associated factors. Only the remaining percentile were unsure or otherwise willing to donate their bodies to aid in research and healthcare.
De Gama said it was important to understand perspectives around body donation in order to design effective campaigns that will boost body donation rates and support medical education. In their study, they also established that this age group of the study population might not be the ideal target group of potential donors in the province, especially from this particular church.
Passionate about medical education at UKZN, De Gama said body donation was important because it supports teaching and learning to Health Sciences students and aids research that contributes to anatomical and medical knowledge which is applied in the clinical arena.
Words: Lunga Memela