A liver transplant at Shaikh Zayed Hospital’s Liver Transplant Unit costs Rs3.5 million, almost 54 per cent less than what it costs in India and in other neighbouring countries, Dr Amir Latif, an associate professor at the Liver Transplant Unit of the Kidney Centre at Shaikh Zayed Hospital, said in an interview on Sunday. “Ours is the cheapest transplant facility in the country,” he said.
The Liver Transplant Unit has performed 70 transplant surgeries since it opened, he said. The survival rate of patients at the SZH’s transplant unit was 80 per cent, Dr Latif said. However, it could vary. “People can live up to 20 years after undergoing transplant surgeries.”
He said transplant procedures in India and in other South Asian countries cost at least Rs6.5 million. There was a dire need to provide this service in Pakistan as liver disease here is on the rise, he said. “A liver can be donated to two people.” The doctor said a person needed 30 per cent of functioning liver to be considered healthy. “A person can donate half a liver and be perfectly healthy.”
After passage of the Cadaver Human Tissue Ordinance 2009 under the 18th Amendment, organ donation and transplant has been legalised, he said. “Now, one can choose whether or not they want to donate their heart or lungs, after they die, to be transplanted in an ailing person.”
Dr Latif said there was a need to encourage cadaver organ donations. “It could help us perform even more transplant surgeries.”
Published in The Express Tribune, March 21st, 2016.