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FMC Umuahia performs first free kidney transplants on two patients


Thursday and Friday, December 7 and 8, 2017 will ever remain remarkable and memorable in the South East medical sector as the days the Federal Medical Centre (FMC) Umuahia in Abia state successfully transplanted two kidneys harvested from their separate donors in the hospital.

The surgeries involving first harvesting of the kidneys from the donors before transplanting them to the recipients was done by a team of FMC doctors in the related departments and other medical professionals, led by Dr. Obi Ekwenna of the University of Toledo Medical Center in Ohio, United States (U.S.), in company of Mr. James Ogbuka Umekwe.

Ekwenna and Umekwe made some donations of materials used for the transplantation.

The first transplantation was performed on Thursday on a 37-year-old businessman and native of Ohafia, Abia state whose name is here stated as Mr. Oji (recipient) after the kidney donor, a 57 years old civil servant whose name is here stated as Mr. Kalu, was harvested. Transplanting the harvested kidney to Oji was completed about 1am on Friday after the harvesting surgery commenced at 11.20 am on Thursday.

Similarly, the second transplantation that commenced on Friday was that of a 68 years old medical doctor in private practice and native of Umuahia whose name is here stated as Dr. Charles after his kidney donor, a 41-year-old (security) man whose name is here stated as Mr. Innocent (who hailed from Imo state) was harvested. Transplantation of the kidney to Dr. Charles was completed about 12.50am the next day, Saturday.

When The Guardian visited the FMC Main Theater Saturday, both the donors and the recipients who were still in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and were said to be doing excellently well.

While Oji before the surgery told The Guardian that he had kidney issues for about fours years, Dr. Charles said his own was just for four months old. Both the kidney donors and the recipients had expressed optimism that they would come out of the surgeries successful and it came to be so.

Speaking after the harvesting and transplanting surgeries, the team leader/surgeon, Dr. Ekwenna described them as successful and excellent. “These were successful transplantations by any standard anywhere in the world. The patients are happy with the outcome. The kidney donors are doing wonderfully and excellently and the recipients are happy that everything went excellently.”

Ekwenna attributed the success of the feat which claims is the first kidney transplantation done in the South East of Nigeria to the dedication of the team including the hospital management and its Medical Director, Dr. Abali Chuku, “ who had the desire to bring this service to the communities and the patients.”

In his remarks, the elated FMC Umuahia’s Medical Director said the development has made even more, the hospital’s vision with respect to kidney transplant services would be to provide as the cheapest most affordable, efficient destination for kidney transplantation in the south east.

He indicated that for 2018 Vision they will perform 40 kidney transplantations hence he urged on all and sundry to collaborate with the hospital and subsidize the cost saying that the hospital made zero charge on the patients to prove its capacity to perform kidney transplantation.

Oji, one of the kidney recipients thanked the FMC and its MD, Dr. Chuku “for the wonderful opportunity it has provided people like us who do not have the means and capacity to go abroad to seek medical attention. We also thank the medical team who God used to save our lives.”

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