The Kenya National Blood Transfusion and Organ Transplantation has presented a bill in parliament to allow the harvesting of kidneys from fresh dead persons.
According to the experts, if the bill will be passed as a proposed law, the harvesting of kidneys will aid many Kenyans who are on the waiting list for transplants.
Speaking on the bill presented, head of renal unit at KNH John Ngigi noted: “We also hope we can change the law to extract from friends, but we don’t want to open a Pandora’s box where people can buy kidneys. When the [proposed] bill is up we can harvest from dead people.”
Ngigi added that the bill will operationalise the Health Act which allows Kenyans, either in a written will or oral statement to donate their bodies or body parts when they pass on.
“It will set proper frameworks for the donation of cadaveric tissues,” Ngigi mentioned.
According to the NHIF, about 4,300 Kenyans are currently undergoing dialysis across the country.
In 2018, the KNH declared that 2,000 of those people are on the waiting list for transplants.
Ngigi then added that KNH only conducts about 15 transplants a year.
Since 2006, only 466 patients have undergone transplants in public and private hospitals.
Ngigi noted some patients opted for dialysis instead of transplant because the National Health Insurance Fund does not pay for the life-long drugs needed after transplant.
He mentioned: “There’s a narrative that it is cheaper to be on dialysis than a transplant. This is a disincentive created by NHIF because it fully pays for dialysis at Ksh9,500 per session, two sessions a week.”
Contrary to the narrative, doctors Alex Muturi, Vihar Kotecha and Samuel Kanyi audited the hospital’s renal unit and found that all the transplants were safe with minimal complications.