Address post-treatment of organ-transplant patients, Sanwo-Olu’s wife urges medical experts

Dr Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu, Wife of the Lagos State Governor, said on Monday that medical practitioners in Nigeria need to do more to address the post-treatment of organ transplant patients.

Sanwo-Olu made the assertion at the 4th Biennial Conference of the Transplant Association of Nigeria in Lagos.

She said it was common knowledge that the problem associated with organs transplant was a rejection because the drugs needed to suppress the immunity of the patients were very expensive.

Sanwo-Olu, represented by Dr Ibironke Sodeinde, former Permanent Secretary, Primary Healthcare Board, said: “The drugs are also not easily available, and if you can not do that, it means rejection will occur.

“In the event that the body rejects the organ, the patient will have to do another transplant or die.

“As it is now, the health system is not caring for such things and so people still have to pay out-of-pocket.

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“In a place where the healthcare system takes care of such things, once organ transplant is done, the drugs are easily available, and if well maintained, survivors can still live for more years.”

The governor’s wife said it means that all hands must be on deck to support a health insurance scheme to gain ground in the country.

“The Lagos State Healthcare Scheme has been launched and it is important for all residents to enrol and make it grow.

“We must support the scheme and ensure it gets to the level that it can take care of all medical conditions and cases,” Sanwo-Olu said.

In his opening remarks, Dr Ebun Bamgboye, President of the association, said that the visibility of organ transplantation in Nigeria had been proven beyond doubt.

Bamgboye said it means that focus must now shift to ensuring that outcomes improve to become comparable with those in the developed world.

“The conference theme will make us focus on the identity challenges inclusive of the funding problems in transplantation,” he said.

Also, Dr Mehmet Haberal, President, Transplantation Society of Nigeria, said that lack of sufficient numbers of organs for transplant was of great concern.

Haberal said that organs transplantation had become the treatment of choice for end-stage organ disease.

“Unfortunately, organ shortage remains one of the greatest challenges facing the field of organs transplantation today.

“It is my firm belief that the solution lies in expanding the use of deceased organs,” Haberal said.

Also, Dr Oluwatoyin Amira, Chairperson, Local Organising Committee, said the theme of the conference was quite apt given that in most centres, the short-term outcomes had improved significantly with results.

“If we are to compare with what is obtainable in the developed countries, long-term outcomes have not improved considerably.

“It is important to have an in-depth analysis of factors mitigating against long-term graft survival and proffer possible solutions.

“Some of these factors include the high cost of post-transplant immunosuppressive medications, infections, malignancies and cardiovascular diseases,” Amira said.

She said that corneal transplantation had been done successfully in Nigeria since 2009 with an increasing number of centres carrying out this surgical procedure.

“Even, liver transplantation is yet to commence in Nigeria; plans are underway to initiate this form of treatment very soon,” Amira said.

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