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Doctors conduct first kidney transplant surgery in Ethiopia

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By Tesfa-Alem Tekle

September 27, 2015 (ADDIS ABABA) – Doctors in Ethiopia have for the first time conducted a kidney transplant surgical procedures to curb the increasing cases of kidney failure and its associated problems across the Horn of African country.

Medics, in a major break through, successfully performed a kidney transplant surgery.

The National Kidney Transplant Center and the Ministry of Health said the transplant on three patients was conducted by doctors at St. Paul hospital last week.

The hospital is due to conduct a kidney transplant operation for 50 patients during the just turned in Ethiopian fiscal year while the numbers are expected to double next year.

The transplant operation, officials told Sudan Tribune, was launched in cooperation with health professionals from the United States-based University of Michigan.

Purchase of all the necessary medical equipments, laboratory chemicals and medications were carried out, but availability of kidneys still remains a challenge.

The long-awaited Kidney transplant procedures had reportedly been delayed in the country mainly due to the absence of a law that prohibits kidney selling and buying.

The bill had later been approved by Ethiopian council of ministers enabling for commencement of the Kidney Transplant procedure.

There are also plans for the Kidney Transplant procedure to start on other government hospitals as well.

The new Kidney Transplant Centre according to officials meets international standards and when it becomes fully operational, it will have a potential to perform life saving kidney surgeries for some 2,000 people, annually.

Previously hospitals in Ethiopia were only providing treatments to minor kidney complications or kidney dialysis procedures at most, forcing many patients (in critical condition) to seek treatment from hospitals abroad.

Local Kidney treatment remains unaffordable to most Ethiopian patients, but the new breakthrough achieved by doctors at St. Paul’s Hospital is believed to ease the burden and reduce travelling abroad to receive an extremely expensive kidney treatment.

Kidney related diseases are amongst the most chronic diseases affecting thousands of Ethiopians. The lack of Nephrologists (medical doctors who specialize in kidney care) is also a major problem in Africa’s second most populace country.

However there are many Ethiopian nephrologists currently practising in the US and Europe.

A kidney transplant operation is a surgical procedure performed to replace an unhealthy kidney with a healthy one from another person. Most of these processes, doctors says, are done from family members or other individuals who would make a good match.

The kidney may come from a deceased organ donor or from a living donor (a living transplant).

Individuals who donate a kidney can live healthy lives under the remaining other kidney.

The newly launched kidney transplant centre is also expected to provide medical treatment to patients from neighbouring countries.

(ST)

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