Sunday, December 28, 2014

Kidney transplantation in Kenya?

Kenya is one of the countries in which a diagnosis of kidney failure is largely a death sentence, since there is little treatment available.  At a meeting in Ohio, there were recently signs that maybe that will change, and that the reluctance to donate organs might be relaxed, and that possibilities of international kidney exchange can be explored:

Governor William Kabogo donates all his organs to those in need

"In his speech as the chief guest at a dinner at the University of Toledo hosted by Professor Michael Rees, Governor Kabogo said, ‘when I was invited to come to America by the UK group lead by kidney transplant patient and founder of Kidney Research Kenya Macharia Gakuru, I was not sure what exactly we were to achieve. Now my mind is very clear. Having met Prof. Michael Rees who runs Alliance for Paired Donation and has developed software in collaboration with Nobel Prize Winner Prof Alvin Roth, I believe we have a solution to the less fortunate in our society to have affordable dialysis and kidney transplant in our county level four hospitals.’

I have come to know that the American population and our population can have a cross match of their donors to make the best match depending on blood groups and tissue typing that our population will also benefit from the American technology and international funding that this may attract because of our difference in financing and insurance costing resulting in savings to American tax payers and gain to Kenyans. The thing we need to embark on now is to educate our masses. Organ donation is a taboo in our culture. I lead from the front and offer my organs in the event of my death to be harvested and used to save lives and research to improve our knowledge of science. We must be our brothers keeper,’ he said.

 In reply, ‘Prof. Michael Rees said, this gives a great opportunity to share our knowledge and expertise in areas of kidney pairing that can solve the problems in America as well fund as solution for kidney patients in Kenya.  The University of Toledo is prepared to help train doctors, nurses and people involved in this project to the international standards. We are looking forward to visiting Kenya and more so Kiambu County where we have prepared the grounds to start our pilot project with our partners in the UK and elsewhere in the world. ’

Dr. Jonah Mwangi who is Kiambu Health Minister said, ‘our next step is to get reliable statistics in our county to identify our incident rates of kidney failure. People don’t have to go to India anymore but we will find our own solution from within.’ "

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