Another Milestone In Kidney Care
There is good news about kidney treatment and its transplantation in the country; the other day Bhaktapur-based Human Organ Transplant Centre (HOTC) for the first time transplanted the kidneys of a brain-dead person into two kidney patients surviving on dialysis, giving them a new lease of life. The kidneys of 30-year old Govinda Bhujel from Sindhuli district were transplanted to 15-year old Milan Shrestha of Kathmandu and 51-year-old Govinda Timilsina of Sunsari successfully. As per a news report in this daily, Bhujel was seriously injured after falling off a moving vehicle in course of an election campaign in his village. He was immediately brought to Kantipur Hospital at Tinkune for treatment, but the doctors declared him brain-dead. Meanwhile, they informed the HOTC about Bhujel for his vital organs could be harvested and used in patients requiring transplantation. Instantly, Dr. Kalpana Shrestha of HOTC arrived at Kantipur Hospital and requested Bhujel’s relatives for the donation of his organs, but they naturally declined to do so; Dr. Shrestha spent hours with them in an attempt to convince them for the charity, but they didn’t budge from their stance. When Dr. Shrestha reached a conclusion that they wouldn’t consent to her request and returned to the HOTC, she got information that they were now ready to donate the kidneys. Then the HOTC called and tested five patients for transplantation; finally Govinda and Milan were chosen for the transplantation as Bhujel’s kidneys matched with their biological specifications.
The remarkable achievement in kidney treatment is the result of dedicated efforts made by HOTC mastermind Dr. Pukar Chandra Shrestha and many other doctors. The transplant done the other day became possible due to Human Organ Transplantation Act-2073 that came into force about four months ago, ending the barriers to organ donation and harvest from brain-dead persons; the doctors had lobbied for long for the enactment of such a law. With the implementation of this law, different organs can be harvested from one brain-dead person including two kidneys, two lungs, two eyes, one heart, one liver, one pancreas, one small intestine and even the skin. In foreign countries, almost 80 per cent organs for transplantation are received from brain-dead individuals. As there is a high number of trauma cases in Nepal, organ transplantation from brain-dead persons can save and prolong the life of a significant number of people and reduce the cases of disabilities. However, there are various factors which need to be taken care of to promote organ transplant in the nation. On the one hand, the cultural and religious convictions of most Nepalese discourage the donation of organs of a brain-dead person while some people expect financial compensation for the charity. So the government and the concerned stakeholders need to run awareness campaign to encourage people to donate the organs of their brain-dead relatives; it is also necessary to introduce some financial incentive to persuade people for the donation. On the other, there are infrastructure and human resource constraints; currently Nepalese doctors can transplant only kidney and liver. So it is essential to improve the infrastructure to support all kinds of transplantation and develop necessary human resource for the task. Let’s hope the government will pay due attention to the vital healthcare issue.