Mega health breakthrough.


The health sector in the country, this week, opened a new chapter after doctors successfully performed the first kidney transplant, to a 30-year old woman at Muhimbili National Hospital (MNH).
This is the first ever live-related organ transplantation to be performed in Tanzania and one of the most significant milestones in the country’s medical history.

Minister for Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children, Ms Ummy Mwalimu said yesterday that patients with kidney failure will now be handed a lifeline, after the national hospital introduced low-cost transplants.

Ms Mwalimu said for years, the government has been spending at least 2.8bn/- for at least 35 patients, who have been transported abroad for kidney transplant annually.

“This should go down in the history of this country’s health sector, the government is very proud of our specialists and all health officials here at MNH and the whole country at large,” said Ms Mwalimu.

The kidney transplantation surgery was carried out on November 21, this year, by MNH specialists in collaboration with BLK Super Specialty Hospital from New Delhi, India.

The team of surgeons, nephrologists, anaesthesiologists, nurses and technicians from both MNH and BLK performed the historical surgery to a woman who was suffering from end stage kidney disease and was on haemodialysis for over a year.

The kidney donor was her 27-year old brother who selflessly donated his organ to save the life of his sister. Ms Mwalimu said the successful kidney transplantation opens a new chapter in offering quality services for kidney patients.

She said that the government has been spending between 80m/- and 100m/- for transporting abroad and covering treatment bills for one patient. She added that the introduction of kidney transplantation services in the country will enable many Tanzanians to access treatment at low cost.

However, according to information released yesterday, only 21m/- has been spent on the recent successful kidney transplantation surgery at MNH.

“We have been sending few patients abroad for kidney transplantation due to limited budget; we were paying between 80m/- and 100m/- per patient, thus with availability of this service at MNH, many Tanzanians will be easily attended,” she said.

The Minister said that before carrying out the historical kidney transplant at MNH, the government throught the Attorney General (AG)’s office formed a regulation, which was published in the government gazzete on June 30, 2017. She said the government is in the process to form a law that will enable body parts transplant.

“It is illegal for someone to offer parts of his/ her body to another person without following procedures, the government is currently working on such laws,” she said.

According to Ms Mwalimu, MNH is looking forward to perform kidney transplant to other four patients in January, 2018. Earlier, the MNH Executive Director, Prof Lawrence Mseru said the hospital offers dialysis services to at least 200 patients. He said the hospital has increased the number of beds for providing dialysis services from 17 to 42.

“This means that patients who suffer chronic kidney failure can also be treated temporarily here at the facility before arrangements are made for their transplant surgery,” he noted.

He said MNH sent 20 officials to BLK in India, for a three-month training in kidney transplantation. He added that physical infrastructure, which included construction and rehabilitation of Intensive Care Unit (ICU) rooms, operation rooms and others were set in place at MNH in collaboration with BLK experts.

“We involved various institutions in this project; these were MNH, Ocean Road Cancer Institute (ORCI), Jakaya Kikwete Cardiac Institute (JKCI), Chief Chemist Office and Ifakara Health Institute (IHI) – these institutions participated fully and invested money in this area,” he noted.
Source:Daily News 25/11/2017

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