Organ Transplant, What ails?

Malaysians spend years on the organ transplant wait list in public hospitals, not because of a lack organ donors, but because hospitals cannot handle the sheer number of requests.

An average of 60 organ transplants are done in government hospitals a year but there are 18,000 Malaysians on the waiting list.

The problem is there are only a dozen dedicated transplant surgeons in government hospitals, said Health Ministry deputy director-general Datuk Dr Jeyaindran Sinnadurai.

Malaysia has a large pool of potential donors — over 300,000 citizens have pledged their organs for use after their death. This does not include the living, related donors and other forms of organ donation methods.

“However, most transplants are done by general surgeons and the process is slow because they also have to juggle their daily duties,” Dr Jeyaindran said.

To remedy the situation, Hospital Kuala Lumpur (HKL) has twinned with the renowned Royal Prince Alfred Hospital (RPAH) in Sydney to exchange ideas on improving transplant services in government hospitals.

RPAH’s kidney transplantation director Prof Steve Chadban, who is coordinating the programme, said there was a long waiting list and a shortage of donors in most countries.

HKL nephrology department head and senior consultant Datuk Dr Ghazali Ahmad said government hospitals here should first streamline their different departments to fast-track transplant procedures.

Ironically, Malaysian government hospitals conducted a lot more organ transplants in the 80s and 90s. Dr Ghazali remembers a time when HKL alone did about 50 surgeries a year. Today, it conducts only about 30 such transplants a year.

“At the time, our doctors and nurses were sent to prestigious international institutions, including RPAH, for formal training on transplantation,” he said.

“In those days, alternative treatment like dialysis was not easily available, so the fastest and best treatment was organ transplantation,” said Dr Jeyaindran.

“Nowadays, dialysis is widely available, so people are more likely to choose dialysis over surgery.”

However, the experts believe organ transplantation provides a better quality of life after the procedure.

/theSTAR 20-06-2015

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