The Federal Medical Centre, FMC Umuahia, Abia State has successfully carried out its first kidney transplant.
The first kidney transplant, which was carried out on two patients was conducted free of charge. The surgery commenced on Thursday, December 7 and was completed on Friday morning around 10:00 a.m.
This decision of the free surgery, according to the management of FMC Umuahia is aimed at offering kidney transplant services to improve quality of life, minimise medical tourism as well as provide affordable kidney transplantation in Nigeria.
The surgical procedure was carried out by team of surgeons led by Dr. Obi Ekwenna from University of Toledo Medical centre, USA and other surgeons from FMC Umuahia. It lasted more than ten hours in between procurement of kidney from the donor and actual transplanting for the recipient.
Relatives of the beneficiaries who have been undergoing dialysis expressed gratitude to the management for the gesture and expressed optimism for its sustainability.
One of the beneficiaries, Orji Ogbonnaya, a 37-year-old man who has been going through dialysis for four years said:
“This is a great plan for people like us who cannot travel outside the country to do the surgery, because they do not have the finances to go outside the country, but right now, we have kidney transplant at our doorstep and it is free for us as the beginners of the place, so I appreciate it.”
In the words of Dr. Obi Ekwenna on the Centre’s first kidney transplant:
“This is a team effort and that is what is required to have a successful transplant. We want to be able to save the life of patients who have kidney failure around this area and we target for that, it is just me from United States and the rest of the surgeons here. They are all very capable and obviously with some guidance we are able to do a successful kidney transplant.
The recipient is doing beautifully and the donor is moving around, the donors are the heroes, they are amazing people that come forward to save life and they will live a normal life.”
According to the Chief Medical Director (CMD), FMC Umuahia, Dr. Abali Chuku, the decision to offer kidney transplant free of charge for two patients is aimed at bridging the gap in obtaining quality healthcare due to the financial burden.
He said about 10 centers in Nigeria are providing kidney transplantation but all the ten centers are outside the south-eastern area. So, the Federal Medical Centre, Umuahia introduced the service within in order to add value to the health sector.
According to Dr. Abali Chuku:
“Now the incidence of this kidney diseases is about seven percent of admitted patients. The alternative which is usually very expensive is kidney transplantation and a lot of them cannot afford it and it becomes a bit challenging for such patients and the dialysis cost is also quite high.
This kidney transplantation is a skill transfer session which the Federal Medical Centre hopes to run for four years to enable the centre to fully optimise the transfer of skills from the partnership with the University of Toledo Medical Centre.”