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Nephrologist, others decry low voluntary organ donations

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The Transplant Association of Nigeria (TAN) has expressed concern over the poor attitude of Nigerians towards donating human organs to save the lives of the sick in need of such organs.

The association expressed their displeasure during the World Organ Donation Day, which is a day set aside to promote the importance of organ donations for those who are in need of them.

The international day, which is observed on August 13 yearly, was commemorated for the first time in Nigeria at the St Nicholas hospital, Lagos with professionals in organ transplant lamenting that, while the view of organ donations are positive, there is large gap between the number of registered donors compared to patients awaiting the organs on a global level.

While addressing journalists, the President of TAN, Dr Ebun Bamgboye said there are various organs that could be donated, which include, kidney, lungs, heart, eye, liver, pancreas, cornea, small intestine, skin tissues, bone tissues, heart valves, and veins, stressing that cultural beliefs have led to low voluntary donation of organs by Nigerians.

The Consultant Nephrologist said Nigeria is the leading West African country that requires various organs for transplant, noting that the demand for organs by people in need is on the rise, with only 413 kidney donors out of the 200 million Nigerians.

He stressed that kidney failure is a major health issue in Nigeria, with about 13 percent of people diagnosed with the disease, while many die due to lack of organ donor for transplant.

He lamented that most people, who are willing to donate their organs demand for money, which he said is illegal according to the National Health Act.

Stressing on the unwillingness of people to donate organs, the Medical Director, Eye Bank for Restoring Sight, Dr Mosun Faderin stressed that since the existence of the eye bank in Nigeria, only three corneas are indigenous, while the rest are foreign.

She noted that 50 percent of the students in Pacelli School for the Blind have the possibility of regaining their sight, according to studies, if only Nigerians would volunteer their cornea after death.

“We need people to be donors of organs so we can save lives, but our beliefs are hindering the successful donations of organs,” she said.

Meanwhile, the representative of kidney Foundation for Africa, Peter Clinton appealed to the government, corporate organisations and individuals to assist in raising funds for the transplant and treatment of people who are in need of the organs, noting that the cost of treatment is high, ranging from N7million to N10million, which he said does not include dialysis.


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