A group of international transplant experts is expected to help Guyana streamline its much needed organ transplant legislation.
According to Head of the Kidney Transplant Department at the Georgetown Public Health Corporation (GPHC), Dr. Kishore Persaud, the Donation and Transplant Institute (DTI) which is based in Spain is expected to, later this week, host discussions on how the local health sector can move forward with the passage and implementation of the new law.
Guyana’s legislation on organ transplant, particularly from cadaveric or brain dead patients, has been in draft format for close to a decade, with no serious steps taken towards implementation.
Dr. Persaud has been among the group of local medical professionals lobbying for implementation of the legislation, noting the benefits it can have on the increasing number of patients in need of urgent transplant surgeries.
The doctors who deal specifically with renal failure patients had noted that there are hundreds of persons who are on dialysis, and desperately in need of transplants.
He noted, however, that this cannot happen because these donors are not easily available.
Dr. Persaud explained, nonetheless, that once the legislation is in place, it will be easier for donors to find a match for those needing heart, kidney, pancreatic or even liver transplants.
“Especially, with the cadaveric type transplant, we will be able to extract organs from brain dead patients and have them available, thereby expanding the prospects for a patient needing an urgent transplant,” Dr. Persaud had explained in a previous interview with this newspaper.
The doctor emphasized too that the law not only benefits the patients, it helps to safeguard the hospital and medical staff performing the transplant, from any legal complications.
As it stands, the mortality rate for patients in need of kidney transplants is high – most die without it.
As such, Dr. Persaud said that the GPHC has been pushing for the enactment of the legal framework to assist its staff and patients.
He revealed too that a copy of the draft legislation was recently handed over to Minister of Health, Dr. Frank Anthony, which he believes—is a step in the right direction.
“We are hoping that the meeting with DTI will also yield positive outcomes towards getting the legislation off the ground. The DTI association has helped set up successful transplant programmes for Trinidad and Tobago and Barbados …so we’re hoping that they will be able to lend the same type of support.”
Additionally, Dr. Persaud disclosed that the local health team will receive support from Canadian transplant expert, Dr. Serder Yilmaz, towards achieving its goal.
According to his brief bio, Dr. Yilmaz is an associate professor at the University of Calgary’s Faculty of Medicine as well as the head of the transplant section and the leader in transplant surgery in Alberta, Canada.
His leadership and contributions in education and research include programme redesign and enhanced access and care of both transplant and vascular access dialysis, allowing seamless interface among all specialists.
Dr. Yilmaz has completed extensive international training, and in his profession, informational outreach is one of his greatest interests.