Saturday, June 22, 2019

Richard Branson on Kidney Exchange

Richard Branson, the founder of Virgin Group, has a blog post about kidney exchange:

A new hope for those in need of a transplant

"Unfortunately, living donation isn’t always straightforward. Depending on the country, 40% or more of recipients are incompatible with their intended donors. In some places, that means potential donors are simply turned away, forcing those in desperate need of a transplant to wait until another compatible donor turns up.
"You don’t have to know much about the organ donation system to realise that doesn’t make much sense. That’s why I was interested to learn about Kidney Exchange Programs (KEPs). KEPs increase the number of transplants by pooling and matching pairs of donors and recipients.
"The matching process allows one previously incompatible donor-recipient pair, say a kidney patient and a family member willing to donate, to be matched with another pair. Under a KEP, donors are then swapped, resulting in two new compatible pairs. It can sound a little complicated but this video provides a clear explanation.
"I was pleased to learn that the UK Living Kidney Sharing Scheme (UKLKSS) has become the largest operating KEP in Europe, allowing pairs to match in two and three-way swaps.
"The unfortunate news is that most countries don’t have schemes like this. The UK is one of only three countries in Europe running an advanced KEP program, with other countries that do have schemes limiting them by only allowing two-way exchanges or by prohibiting altruistic donors.
It’s barriers like these that mean countries are missing out on saving thousands of lives. I urge policy makers in countries without KEPs to learn more about the programmes and consider the difference they could make.
"If more countries developed KEPs, just imagine what this could mean in the future. Through greater international cooperation, kidneys could be exchanged between countries meaning the lives of even the hardest-to-match patients could be saved.Fortunately, it is thanks to the fantastic work of organisations like the European Network for Collaboration on Kidney Exchange Programmes (ENCKEP), that some of this research is already being done.
ENCKEP brings together clinicians, economists, and policy makers to explore the legislative, medical, financial and ethical issues that surround greater collaboration on KEPs. Their latest report provides an overview of their work to date."

No comments: