MINISTRY OF HEALTH & WELLNESS CONDUCTS ASSESSMENT WITH TRANSPORT LINKS COMMUNITY (TLC) FOR KIDNEY TRANSPLANT PROJECT

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NASSAU| The Ministry of Health & Wellness forging ahead with its plan to launch a comprehensive kidney transplant program in the country. 

Minister of Health & Wellness the Honourable Dr. Michael Darville along with Permanent Secretary Collin Higgs and other health officials recently met with Bahamian physicians, Dr. Rhea Thurston-Carroll and Dr. Vantario Taylor along with members of the international non-profit organization Transplant Links Community (TLC) including CEO Aimee Jewitt-Harris to discuss the implementation of a living donor kidney transplant programme in The Bahamas.

The need for public education about kidney transplants and the establishment of an end stage renal failure registry in The Bahamas were also discussed.

In September, Cabinet gave approval for the Ministry to commence a hospital facility assessment from its budget. The assessment by the TLC team reported satisfaction that with some instrument upgrades and additional needs assessments, a kidney transplant programme can be successful in The Bahamas.

Kidney failure and dialysis continues to put a heavy burden on the public health budget. While dialysis remains a viable option for kidney failure treatment, this living donor programme would give patients an improved quality of life and a cost burden relief to the healthcare system. The aim is to have performed 10 transplants by the end of 2023 with legislative amendments to the Drug Prescription Act to make the anti-rejection medication readily available at no cost to the patients.

TLC is a registered charity in the United Kingdom that provides hands-on training and mentoring in kidney transplantation for healthcare professionals in low and middle income countries assisting in the development of sustainable, ethical living-donor transplant units so that more patients have access to this life saving treatment. TLC has over fifty (50) volunteer clinicians who work alongside local surgeons, doctors, nurses, nephrologists, operating theatre technicians and social workers to deliver lifesaving living kidney transplants while transferring knowledge and skills.

The kidney transplant program once given the green light will be facilitated through the Princess Margaret Hospital in New Providence.