The country’s physicians are awaiting donors to begin country's first-ever kidney transplant from the brain-dead to partially meet the demand of kidney transplant.
“We are ready to go for the first-ever kidney transplant from the brain-dead but finding donors remains a big challenge to make the historic landmark of Bangladesh health sector,” said Society of Organ Transplantation (SOT) President professor Dr Harun-Ur Rashid at a press conference at Jatiya Press Club in Dhaka on Tuesday.
Kidney transplantation from living donor began in Bangladesh in 1982 but last year the kidney specialists got prepared to do it from the brain-dead that had started in neighbouring India and Sri Lanka apart from developed countries much earlier.
The government last year amended the organ donation law allowing collection of organs from the brain-dead with the consent from the relatives which is still a major challenge.
“We had taken all preparation to do the first kidney transplantation from brain-dead last year, but we failed to get consent from family members of a single brain-dead patient … this year we again got prepared and are looking for donors,” Prof Harun said and urged all to give consent for donating kidney if their dear ones are declared brain-dead by the physicians. Society of Organ Transplantation (SOT), Kidney Foundation Hospital and Bangladesh Renal Association jointly have taken the initiative to hunt donors.
Brain death is the irreversible loss of brain function and has been accepted as death by the WHO guideline which supports Bangladesh’s organ donation law, according to the SOT.
Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU) Vice-Chancellor Professor Dr Kanak Kanti Borua, Pro-VC Prof Dr Rafiqul Alam, Urology and Transplant Foundation Bangladesh president Prof M A Salam and SOT general secretary Professor Habibur Rahman Dulal also spoke, among others, while Dr ASM Tanim Anwar of Dhaka Medical College Hospital Nephrology department moderated.
Prof Harun said every year 20 million people are affected by various kidney diseases while 40,000 patients suffer kidney failure. “Among the 40,000 kidney failure patients, only 10,000 receive dialysis and 30,000 do not get any treatment.
The annual demand for the kidney transplantation in Bangladesh right now is estimated to be 5000, but on average, only 120 people can manage kidneys from their relatives to have a transplant.
In Dhaka, Prof Harun said there are 500 beds at ICUs in different hospitals where 20 to 25 patients are declared brain-dead every day. “Twenty- five per cent of the brain-dead are usually eligible for kidney transplantation,” he added.
He said 60 per cent of patients are getting better life after kidney transplantation from brain-dead in the developed countries where people of our country hesitate to donate organs because of their emotion, values and religious prejudice.
Noting that religious prejudice is the major barrier, Prof Harun said there is no bar from our religion to donate organ while 60 per cent of kidney transplantation are taking place from brain-dead in Saudi Arabia while 40 per cent in Iran.
He said they have a plan to involve Islamic Foundation and imams of the country to make it clear to the common people that Islam doesn’t forbid organ donation.
Prof Borua urged everyone to step forward so that the physicians can perform the first ever kidney transplant from brain-dead this year to mark the birth centenary of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibiur Rahman.
Saying that BSMMU is ready to conduct the surgery, the vice-chancellor said Bangladesh physicians are quite capable to transplant organs from the brain-dead and they don’t need any assistance from other countries.
A national committee on Deceased Donor Organ was formed recently headed by Prof Barua and the kidney transplant surgery can done in Dhaka Medical College Hospital, Bangladesh Kidney Foundation, BIRDEM and Combined Military Hospital (CMH) apart from BSMMU depending on the availability of donor, SOT sources said.
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