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Global Expert Advises Uganda On Coming Organ Transplant Service

The solid organ transplant programme should be separated from the bone marrow transplant, an International bone marrow transplant and cellular therapies expert has advised Uganda as plans to establish this tertiary health service in the country are underway.

Dr. Gaurav Kharya, the Director Bone Marrow Transplant and Cellular Therapy at the Apollo hospital in Delhi, India said the two programmes are run using different guidelines and having them separated from beginning will save the country the confusion that may arise in future.

Dr. Kharya who is in Uganda on invitation by the Ministry of Health to among others assess Uganda’s readiness and train health workers on how to handle pre and post bone marrow transplant patients said there’s a huge and increasing number of Ugandans seeking this care in India.

He said by the country starting to provide the service, it will save them the expenses since forecasts on for instance sickle cell disease indicate that the disease burden in especially countries in Africa like Uganda will only start going down after 2050.

This he says is because the country has not yet developed enough capacity for not just testing, treatment and cure like transplants but also in awareness about the disease.

Uganda is now formulating the organ transplant law and Dr. Charles Ayume who heads the parliamentary Health Committee says the expert has come in at time when they are inviting views from experts since they want back on the floor of parliament by September.

Dr. Ayume says they hope this bill can be accented to by the President by December this year such that they can then convince the budget committee to appropriate money for the initial transplants work in the next budget. For him, this will save the many flocking India for stem cell transplants.

Currently, however, Dr. Robert Opoka, a Consultant Paediatrician based at the Mulago hospital sickle cell clinic says they are not sure of the exact number of patients seeking bone transplants because people live and keep their experiences private.


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