Faith-Based Organizations, Private Sector, Crucial to Successes in Kidney Transplantation – Professor Alvin Roth
The importance of faith-based organizations around the world and private health care providers in ensuring increasing success in the area of kidney transplantation was highlighted at Covenant University’s 2nd International Conference on African Development Issues (CU-ICADI 2015).
The theme of the Conference was Biotechnology, ICT, Materials and Renewable Energy: Potential Catalyst for African Development, and Chancellor, Dr. David Oyedepo tasked the organizers and participants alike, to make the most of the opportunity availed them to proffer solutions to issues plaguing mankind.
The keynote speaker, Professor Alvin Elliot Roth of Stanford University said, many of the non-directed donors in the kidney exchange scheme in the United States of America come from faith-based organizations, with self-sacrificing initiatives.
According to the 2012 Nobel Prize Winner in Economic Sciences, there are more people in need of kidney transplants than there are available organs. Also, it is expected that for kidney exchange to be lawful, it must be done in kind, that is, no money must change hands in the process between the donor and recipient. Any form of kidney donation void of altruism is considered unethical and unlawful, even though it improves the financial well-being of the donor. In addition, he noted that poverty has, to some extent, affected and impacted kidney transplantation.
Professor Roth, who spoke on the topic, ‘Kidney Disease in Nigeria and the United States, and Possibilities of Cooperation and Mutual Aid’, said that there is a good chance for a global kidney exchange programme that would establish a mutual aid channel for victims of kidney diseases and possible donors from both countries to create a two-way exchange transplantation scheme.
The Micro-Economist, who helped design Medical Labour Markets as it relates to Medical Residents in the US, and Gastroenterology and other Fellowship markets, averred that the huge cost of carrying out dialysis in a year is three times the cost of carrying out a kidney transplant, and that would be much more in Nigeria. Thus, there is need to put in place a robust exchange programme as already done in a pilot kidney exchange initiative between donors and recipient from the U.S.A and Philippine in a reverse transplant tourism’ programme.
He, however, pointed out some ethical guidelines that must be navigated so as to avoid the exploitation of individuals. Foremost is the fact that every intended transplantation and kidney donation must be transparent, and a first rate lifelong follow-up care for both patients and donors must be put in place.
In addition, patient’s post-transplant care, that is, providing immunosuppressive drugs, regular checkups, and quality care must be adequately prepared for to forestall a breakdown of the system. The donors must have been carefully subjected to pre-surgical screening, and Post-nephrectomy care, while to the Non-directed donors, excellent care and appropriate social status must be guaranteed.
At a panel session, the Medical Director and Chief Executive Officer of Ace Medicare Clinic, Ota, Dr. Oluwole Kukoyi posited that even though the United States of America is currently not winning the war against kidney diseases, it is alarming that Nigeria is yet to initiate a warfare against the scourge.
According to him, “Nigeria has 11 kidney transplant centres across the nation and three are privately owned. For the present, private initiative holds the ace for the health care development in Nigeria. A look at the number speaks volume; out of about 143 cases of transplants done in Nigeria, 115 were done at St. Nicholas Hospital.”
Dr. Kukoyi canvassed for a Public-Private Sector Partnership, which will become the driving tool for advanced health care delivery in Nigeria. “Kidney transplant is very expensive. But dialysis on the long run is more expensive. Therefore, any effort put in place by the government and private sector to lower the cost of carrying out transplantation will be most welcomed,” he enthused.
He commended Covenant University for the 2nd ICADI, because it has come to form a means of enlightenment, and awareness is important in galvanizing effort towards tackling the challenges affecting the delivery of quality health care for the people. In addition, he said that the conference, he hoped, would help birth collaborations either between government to government or government to private so as not to lose the gains of the Conference.
On his part, the Managing Director of GlaxoSmithKline Plc., Mr. Lekan Asunni, said the availability of data on kidney transplant is crucial to help in developing a system that would be able to cater for those that are in need of transplants.
Mr. Asunni noted that Nigeria, as a nation, has a long way to go in terms of addressing the challenges of kidney transplantation, because the government need to get the right infrastructure in place, there must be an enhanced ability to match donor and organ recipients (blood compatibility and tissue type compatibility), the government needs to help subsidize the cost of carrying out kidney transplantation, and should provide adequate training for medical personnel for this important aspect of medical practice.
Professor Gbolahan Oni, of the Department of Economics, Covenant University, blamed the poor records on kidney transplant and other special aspect of medical practice on the inconsistency in government policies towards stopping diseases. According to him, “A government that cannot put in place a medical policy that would chart a course for disease prevention cannot guarantee building infrastructure towards aiding kidney transplantation.”
He, however, noted that should a global kidney exchange programme be instituted, there is the issue of cross racial transplantation to be addressed. “What are the likely ethical questions to be encountered?” He asked.