Top UAE doctor urges national donor register
Abu Dhabi, April 17, 2013
A leading Abu Dhabi-based doctor has called for a national register of organ donors in the UAE to improve the quality of lives of patients currently undergoing medical intervention for failed kidneys.
A database of volunteer participants in a nationwide registry programme would remove a significant number of patients from dialysis treatment, thereby relieving their burden of having to visit dialysis centres each week to have their blood filtered of impurities, according to Dr Mohamed Hassan, consultant nephrologist and chief of Nephrology at Sheikh Khalifa Medical City (SKMC).
“Renal dialysis should ideally be a holding measure only – if should bridge the gap between a person’s kidneys failing and new organs being transplanted,” said Dr Hassan.
“Studies have shown that long-term dialysis is associated with early mortality and a host of attendant medical problems, such as fluid imbalances, muscle cramps, bone diseases and infection. It also severely restricts a person’s quality of life, as they need to be permanently close to a dialysis centre, which they have to visit at least once a month and up to three times a week,” he added.
“In the early days of kidney transplantation, it was necessary for a patient to take a cocktail of drugs to ensure the organ functioned as normal,” said Khalid Amin, regional director for Cinfa, a Spanish pharmaceutical company involved in producing immune-suppressant drug required to protect transplanted kidneys.
“Now we have it down to just one tablet a day, which not only massively improves the quality of life for the patient, it also represents a huge saving on dialysis,” he added.
Dr Ammar Abdul Baki, consultant physician in Nephrology at SKMC cited the example of Qatar, which saw Sheikha Mozah bint Nasser Al Missned, wife of Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, Emir of the State, publicly back organ donation in the country by registering herself as a donor during a Ramadan campaign last year.
Her practical support saw registrations in Qatar doubling in the week after she put her name forward, with 1,000 additional names being added to the registry, he said.
Dr Baki said that it is this form of practical leadership that will help swell numbers for a national registry in the UAE, with cultural dignitaries also having a part to play.
Organ donation is not prohibited by any Islamic edict as long as it is conducted because of altruism and a desire to help a fellow human being and not for commercial gain, as is the case with organ trafficking.
“Organ donation is compatible with the cultural mores of the region as it is a medical practice designed to improve a sufferer’s quality of life,’ said Dr Baki.
“We need more leaders from all walks of life to follow the great example of Her Highness Sheikha Mozah bint Nasser Al Missned to promote the importance of putting your name forward on a national register. As a voluntary donor, you will join a selfless group of people prepared to provide the ultimate gift and who knows – you may even benefit yourself in the future should your kidneys fail in later life,” he added. – TradeArabia News Service