February 23, 2024

GREAT NEWS: Mulago hospital discharges the first kidney transplant patient

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The first kidney transplant patient, Mark Maurice Kiyemba has finally been discharged from Mulago Hospital.

Kiyemba who was wheeled to the hospital in late December walked home on Friday together with his donor Steven Mpagi.

The recipient together with his donor has been under close monitoring since the successful transplant on 20th December 2023. On Friday afternoon they discharged as Kiyemba heads for full recovery.

The successful complex kidney transplant at Mulago is a breakthrough for the Ugandan surgeons who have worked over the years to see joy in the eyes of Kidney patients.

It sends hope to hundreds of Ugandan patients and relatives who have had to spend millions of shillings on dialysis.

Ugandan patients who had Kidney donations had to foot huge costs for surgery mainly in Indian hospitals. For many kidney patients in Uganda, being diagnosed of chronic kidney disease has been like a death sentence.

The likes of Dr. Robert Kalyesubyla and Dr. Steven Asiimwe of the renal unit at Mulago National Referral Hospital join the ranks of a few African Kidney transplant surgeons who have successfully conducted a kidney transplant.

The first kidney transplant in the world was performed by Dr. Joseph Murray in 1954 or seventy years ago.

Dr. Frank Asiimwe, the head of the Transplant Unit at Mulago told journalists that the successful transplant and the discharge of the patient and his donor is a giant leap for the transplant program in Uganda.

Dr. Asiimwe said the recipient had no signs of rejection or infection almost three weeks after the surgery. On the other side, the donor who now carries one kidney is up and running after regaining all his renal function. He can produce urine and has been discharged alive and in good condition.

Dr. Peace Bagasha who has been taking care of the donor and the recipient noted that since the transplant was made the donor has only taking pain-killing medication to kill the pain from the surgery point that the wound has healed very well and that he has not had any fever or infection.

She also revealed that the donor will be reviewed every three months for one year to check if the pressures are okay.
Dr. Bahatungire Ronny, the Acting Commissioner of clinical services at the Ministry of Health pledged to support surgeons in developing competencies to conduct more surgeries in the country adding that with that, there will be no need to refer Ugandans out of the country for such surgeries.

According to statistics from the Ministry of Health 13 percent of Ugandans suffer from kidney disease and several others suffer from mild kidney diseases that can be managed and patients recover but, two percent battle end-stage disease and can only be saved by transplant surgery.

Ugandans were referred to surgeries abroad which cost 13000 to 15000 United States Dollars.

Health Minister, Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng while officiating at the launch of the maiden Kidney transplant in December last year said that Ugandans who will need this surgery will have to pay after the government of Uganda sponsoring the maiden organ transplant.

The Minister instructed Mulago Hospital administration to analyze how much the first procedure cost in terms of medicines and surgeries to come up with an average of what such surgeries will cost once the program goes full-scale.

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