A half-day seminar on organ transplantation with stakeholders from the public and private sectors was held this morning at the Rajiv Gandhi Science Centre in Bell Village to discuss the implementation of the Human Tissue (Removal, Preservation and Transplant) Act 2006.

The objective was to present to the participants several issues involved in organ transplantation, to allow them to brainstorm and give their views and opinions on the Act and transplantation in general. These inputs will be taken into consideration by the Ministry of Health and Quality of Life while finalising the policy on organ transplantation.

Several presentations were made namely Renal Transplantation in Mauritius; Organ Transplantation; and Legal Framework for Renal Transplantation. The speakers were Dr S.B. M Gaya, Consultant in Charge General Medicine; Dr Rajsingh Purgus, Nephrologist, L’Assistance Publique-Hopitaux de Marseille; and Dr Ip Min Wan, Nephrologist from SSRN Hospital.

In his presentation, Dr Gaya recalled that the first dialysis centre in Mauritius was set up in the early 1990’s and that the first dialysis in the public sector was set up in 1995. Around 1 149 patients are on dialysis and Government spends Rs 250 000 per patient per year for dialysis.

Speaking about dialysis versus renal transplantation, Dr Gaya pointed out that kidney transplantation is considered the treatment of choice for many people with severe chronic kidney disease because quality of life and survival are often better than in people who use dialysis. Dialysis performs only 10 % of work of a functioning kidney and life expectancy is only five years. In the case of kidney transplantation, it is the treatment of choice for many people with end-stage renal disease, he explained.

He suggested that there is a need to increase renal transplantation, improve laboratory facilities, increase staff to perform biopsies and the number of nephrologists and renal histopathologists, improve microbiology services, and to have a Renal registry and protocols.

For his part, Dr Purgus focused his presentation on living and non-living kidney transplantation donors. He said that a deceased donor is a person who decides to donate his organs upon his death. These organs (and tissues) are then assessed for suitability and surgically transplanted into someone on a transplant waiting list. As a result of the growing need for organs for transplantation, deceased donation represents the majority of all organ donors in Europe, he said. In 2009, deceased donors accounted for 81,3% of kidney transplantation in Europe and it was most common in Portugal, Spain, Austria and France.

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