• Follow us on:

Korle Bu Teaching Hospital performs first Ghanaian team kidney transplants

Local News

7 month(s) ago
Share on:

In a groundbreaking milestone, a team of health professionals at Ghana's Korle Bu Teaching Hospital (KBTH) successfully performed the country's first-ever kidney transplants.

The local team, consisting of specialist doctors, nurses, and anesthetists, carried out the procedures on July 4 and 5, 2023.

Both male patients who received the transplants are currently in recovery at the facility, while their female donors have been discharged and are doing well.

To boost confidence in the local team, two foreign experts—a theatre technician and a transplant surgeon—were present during the surgeries.

The estimated cost of each procedure is $21,000, and the surgeries were generously sponsored by First Sky Group, a Ghanaian private company.

The company's support aims to make these life-saving procedures more accessible and affordable to patients who previously had to seek treatment abroad, often costing over $250,000.

During a media briefing, Professor Mathew Kyei, a urologist at KBTH, revealed that the hospital's capacity assessment determined it could perform three kidney transplant surgeries monthly.

Therefore, although six individuals were prepared for surgery, only three will be undertaken next month.

Presently, around 1,000 people across various hospitals in Ghana are reliant on dialysis.

KBTH, with sponsorship from the First Sky Group, supports 250 patients who undergo dialysis three times a week.

Providing an update on the two patients, Professor James Edward Mensah, Head of the Department of Surgery at KBTH, expressed satisfaction with their progress.

He noted that both patients' bodies had responded positively to the transplants.

Within 24 hours of the first surgery, the patient began producing urine, indicating successful alignment with the new kidney.

To ensure ethical practices and avoid legal complications, an ethical committee comprising surgeons, lawyers, and professionals has been established. The committee will develop guidelines for counseling donors and ensure there is no financial coercion involved.

Executive Chairman of the First Sky Group, Eric Seddy Kutortse, highlighted his company's ongoing support for kidney patients.

Since 2016, the group has sponsored dialysis treatments at KBTH, investing approximately GH¢30 million in this cause.

Mr. Kutortse mentioned that the group had previously sponsored three patients to undergo kidney transplants in India, costing $250,000 per patient and their respective donors. Due to the high cost, the First Sky Group decided to collaborate with KBTH to conduct local kidney transplants, thereby reducing expenses and expanding access to free kidney transplants.

Furthermore, Mr. Kutortse assured that the First Sky Group would continue offering free dialysis to beneficiaries at KBTH and provide free kidney transplants to eligible individuals meeting the hospital's criteria. The group, in partnership with KBTH, has initiated plans for an ultra-modern kidney transplant center that will be fully funded by the company.

Discussing the advantages of renal transplant, Professor Vincent Boima, Head of Nephrology at KBTH, revealed that Ghana carried a high burden of kidney diseases within sub-Saharan Africa. The youth, particularly those aged 20 to 50, were the most affected demographic. Prof. Boima emphasized that kidney failure was largely preventable and often caused by lifestyle and environmental factors.

Transplantation offered cost-effective solutions, allowing patients to resume their normal lives.

However, since the procedure could not be performed locally, patients incurred significant expenses traveling abroad with their donors.

The ultimate goal of KBTH is to ensure that no patient has to travel outside the country for kidney or any other transplant. CEO of KBTH, Dr. Opoku Ware Ampomah, acknowledged the facility's highly qualified human resources but mentioned the resource constraints that have led many professionals to seek opportunities abroad.

Dr. Ampomah advocated for the development of a legal framework for organ donation and harvesting to provide a solid foundation for transplantation services. Currently, KBTH imports corneas for transplantation, but a legislative framework would address this issue.

Dr. Ampomah praised the First Sky Group for its unwavering support to KBTH in assisting kidney patients, highlighting that only a few patients could afford the surgery independently.

source: Ghanaweb.com