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Tuesday, 23 March 2021

Helping to save lives

MAKING A DIFFERENCE: The Department of Biomedical Sciences is teaming up with the SA Bone Marrow Registry. MAKING A DIFFERENCE: The Department of Biomedical Sciences is teaming up with the SA Bone Marrow Registry.

CPUT is once again joining hands with the SA Bone Marrow Registry (SABMR), a non-profit organisation that works to find matching bone marrow donors for critically ill patients.

Heather Hendrickse, a lecturer in the Department of Biomedical Sciences, said the initiative involved a stem cell donor drive aimed at assisting the SABMR with finding suitably matched donors for national and international patients with life-threatening blood diseases such as leukaemia, who do not have a match within their own families.

She said that in 2020, shortly before the coronavirus pandemic started, the BHSc Medical Laboratory Science Immunohaematology second-year students from the Biomedical Sciences Department had assisted the SABMR by handing out SABMR flyers at the Bellville campus and assisted potential stem cell donors with the buccal swab (cheek swab) kit, which includes the donor application form.

“In 2021, the current second-year students will create awareness online by forwarding the SABMR flyers to their Facebook, WhatsApp and email contact list. Students can refer potential applicants to the CPUT clinic site for signing up or online (SABMR website), during which the SABMR will dispatch the buccal swab kit to the successful applicant. The students demonstrate engagement with techniques/creativity in recruitment and ethical considerations related to community based-service learning and develop an understanding of diverse cultures and communities,” said Hendrickse.

She added that the collaborators on the service-learning project will be: SABMR, CPUT Health Clinics (Bellville & Wellington), the Community & Engagement Centre, the Marketing & Communication Department and the Biomedical Sciences Department.

Hendrickse hopes for the initiative to be extended to other Faculties and Departments such as Nursing (oncology), Marketing Public Relations and Communication; Photography; Journalism and Education.

Written by Ilse Fredericks