Umbilical Cords has teamed up with transplantinformers to promote awareness around the fact that the stem cells found in umbilical cord blood can be transplanted in order to treat patients with leukaemias, lymphomas and various blood disorders. For remarkable insight into the drive to establish public umbilical cord blood banks in South Africa, and an examination of the diversity issues examined through the film and how they intersect with donor recruitment for transplant, have a look at Emily Avera’s fascinating article.
As this article in the South African Medical Journal states, ‘the voluntary donation of cord blood cells to public UCB banks, resembling blood donation practice, is an example of a social justice health model that encompasses ethical citizenship and altruism’. But until a public cord blood bank becomes a reality in South Africa the next best thing to do right now is to join the South African Bone Marrow Registry by signing up via the Sunflower Fund (call +27 (0)800 12 10 82), or your local registry. Bone marrow/haematopoietic stem cells and cord blood cells are used in a similar way, and there is a critical need of donors in South Africa.