By ANAYO OKOLI
UMUAHIA—HOPE may have come the way of kidney patients in the South-East following two successful kidney transplant surgeries carried out at the Federal Medical Centre, FMC, Umuahia, Abia State.
The hospital achieved the feat in collaboration with a team of medical doctors from University of Toledo Medical Center in Ohio, United States of America led by Dr. Obi Ekwenna, Imo State born America-based surgeon and the receivers and donors of the kidneys, according to Dr. Abali Chuku, the Medical Director of the hospital, are doing well.
The feat as expected was the main topic of discussion in the state throughout last week by individuals and public commentators.
The kidney transplant surgeries were performed on a 37- year-old businessman and native of Ohafia in Abia State whose name was simply given as Mr. Oji and a 68-year- old medical doctor, a native of Umuahia, simply identified as Dr. Charles.
A 57-year-old civil servant indentified simply as Mr. Kalu donated the kidney for Oji, while a 41-year-old security man, named Innocent donated for Dr. Charles. According to Oji, one of the recipients, he has had kidney problem for about four years.
The medical team leader, Dr. Obi Ekwenna said the surgery was “successful and excellent by any standard anywhere in the world,” even as he attributed the success to the dedication of his team, FMC management led by its CMD, Dr. Abali Chuku.
According to him: “Dr. Abali Chuku is a strong and committed leader. We met few years ago and he expressed the desire to have transplantation center in the South-East, Nigeria, particularly in his FMC and I pledged to assist with my team in Toledo.”
Ekwenna explained that under the partnership arrangement with the hospital, his team would work towards transferring skills and return to Nigeria to render more professional assistance including doing more transplantations.
Basking in the in the feat, Dr. Chuku Abali said the success of the surgeries has encouraged them on the hospital’s vision in Kidney Transplant Services with a target to provide affordable and efficient kidney transplantation services in the South-East and the Federal Medical Centre, FMC, Umuahia. He commended the Federal Government for the support that ensured the success of the surgeries.
According to him, the vision for kidney Transplant at the hospital started in 2015 when he was invited by the Teledo University, Ohio in the USA, and honored with admission into its Hall of Fame after which he sought for a partnership with the University on Kidney management.
“This resulted to the signing of a four-year memorandum of understanding, MoU, for transfer of skills to our medical personnel in kidney transplantation for which four of our staff later went to Toledo for exposure to kidney management.
“We are also grateful to Dr. Ekwenna of the Ohio University who played key role during the transplant, who is a Nigerian-American and another Abian from Ozu Abam, Mr. James Ogbuka Umekwe who donated large consumables for the Kidney Centre and all others who participated in the transplant, even up to the driver,” the CMD said.
He said the hospital would perform at least 40 kidney transplants in 2018 and urged individuals and corporate organisations to assist them by donating towards sustainable kidney transplant surgeries at FMC, Umuahia.
Chuku also appreciated the kidney donors and members of their families “for having the courage to donate one of their kidneys,” saying that the hospital’s kidney foundation hopes to subsidize the transplant to less than N3.5 million, far cheaper than other centres in the country.