For a long time, stories about kidney transplant, harvesting kidney from people, organ harvesting, organ trafficking cases, blackmarket organ trade have been on the rise in most countries. But what exactly are these kidney transplant, organ harvesting, and about and how or who do they benefit?
Kidney transplant is one of the most common organ transplant surgeries performed today. In this surgery,kidneys that aren't working well are replaced by akidney from a donor. And this might soon become a law in kenya if parliament approves the proposed kidney transplant from fresh corpses.
This comes amid a heated debate of National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) does not fund life-long drugs needed after the kidney transplant an action which has left many patients suffering and resolving to stick to undergoing dialysis in about 151 centres across the country, according to NHIF.
If this bill passes from parliament, it will mark the begining of a new chapter where it will operationalize the health act which allow kenyans to freely donate their bodies or body parts for kidney transplant upon death.
Furthermore, a good number of patients are undergoing pain and expensive dialysis process after the donors withdrew the last minute leaving the patient and family stranded about the next move which reverts back to dialysis. Also, many potential kidney donors are kicked out of the exercise due to their bad lifestyle habits which expose them to chronic diseases such as diabetes
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According to the Ministry of Health, only 466 patients have undergone transplants since 2006, in public and private hospitals.
Ngigi noted some patients opted for dialysis instead of transplant because the National Health Insurance Fund does not pay for the life-long drugs needed after transplant.
“There’s a narrative that it is cheaper to be on dialysis than a transplant. This is a disincentive created by NHIF because it fully pays for dialysis at Sh9,500 per session, two sessions a week,” he said.
“It will make sense for NHIF to pay for immunosuppressants so we move many people from dialysis to transplant,” the doctor said.
In 2017, doctors Alex Muturi, Vihar Kotecha and Samuel Kanyi audited the hospital’s renal unit and found that all the transplants were safe with minimal complications.
“The data can be used to educate potential kidney donors on the overall safety of this procedure in our centre in a bid to increase the donor pool,” the study published in the BMC Nephrology journal reads.