Paidamoyo Chipunza Senior Health Reporter
Technologies and anti-rejection drugs used during kidney transplantation are now advanced, giving hope to the country’s health experts the life saving procedure is possible in Zimbabwe, Chitungwiza Central Hospital chief executive officer Dr Obadiah Moyo has said.
Speaking during a tour of the Sally Mugabe Renal and Transplant Unit by executives from Mimosa Mining Company, which sponsored the project, Dr Moyo said the main challenge of transplants was organ rejection.
He said because of advances made so far in technology and newer drug regimens, fears of organ rejection had been reduced.
“Our selection criteria for the donor and the recipient are going to be extremely thorough and we will strictly follow the international laid down procedure for successful transplants,” said Dr Moyo.
He said for now the country would focus on living related donors, which had a higher rate of success.
Dr Moyo said the other important aspect in transplant operations was the issue of post-operative management.
He was also confident that it should be possible to do the transplants since one of the nephrologists involved in the project had managed over 15 patients who received kidney transplants from outside the country. Mimosa Mining Company chief executive officer Mr Winston Chitando said his company had committed over $200 000 in the next 12 months for a smooth take off of the project.
He said over the past months, they had channelled about $35 000 towards the training of experts involved and other related costs.
“We have decided to partner with Chitungwiza Central Hospital in the implementation of kidney transplant and it’s a journey which we are walking with them,” said Mr Chitando.
He said his company was proud to be associated with the project and hoped to see the first transplant done at the hospital, which he envisaged would spread to other hospitals in the country.
Chitungwiza Central Hospital board chairman Professor Mike Mbizvo acknowledged the support coming from Mimosa and urged other stakeholders to emulate the good gesture.
“The issue of kidney function is very important. In theory we are dealing with a condition which has seen lives lost,” said Prof Mbizvo.
Prof Mbizvo said kidney transplant for Zimbabwe was a welcome development as it showed that the country was copying technological advances used in treatment and management of patients by other countries. Kidney transplant is the absolute treatment for patients with acute renal failure, who depend on machines as artificial kidneys to cleanse the system of toxins. Chitungwiza clinical director Dr Patrick Dhliwayo said while there were several causes of kidney failure, high blood pressure, diabetes and HIV were among the major reasons.
“Renal dialysis is an interim measure needed by the body to remove the toxins but eventually to allow the person to be as independent as we are, they will need a kidney transplant,” said Dr Dhliwayo.