Monday, 09 November 2015 11:26

Ethiopia’s fellows help to further kidney transplants

20151110 081937Kidney transplant program now comes to fruition in Ethiopia, thanks to the dedication of the country’s nephrologists.

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In September, a team from the University of Michigan carried out kidney transplant operations at St-Pauls Hospital, Millennium Medical College (SPHMMC) in Addis Ababa. They will visit every four to six weeks to help with future procedures. In two years, local surgeons will take over.

ISN Fellow Momina Ahmed says: “The kidney transplant program has taken almost two years to prepare, from developing the legislation, establishing chronic dialysis services, getting all the necessary medical equipment and medication, to creating the framework to assure its sustainability.”

After training as an ISN Fellow at the University of Witwatersrand Hospital in 2011 and through a growing collaboration with the University of Michigan, Ahmed established nephrology programs at SPHMMC to cater for more kidney transplants and treat acute kidney injury.

Also at SPHMMC, she adds: “I started the service by delivering nephrology speciality care for in-patient nephrology cases, and a few months later I got a place to run a nephrology out-patient follow-up clinic. Currently, the clinic is fully functioning two days per week (each day a minimum of 30 patients).”

A year later, an acute hemodialysis unit with six hemodialysis machines was opened with help from the National Institute of Urology and Nephrology in Cairo, Egypt. It was the only functioning public dialysis unit for all of Ethiopia until very recently when the Black Lion Hospital at Addis Ababa University School of Medicine started a unit with three machines. Over two and a half years, more than 360 AKI patients have successfully undergone dialysis.

For many years, renal centers in Africa have collaborated through the ISN Programs. After training with Saraladevi Naicker, ISN Fellow Yewondwossen Tadesse is now starting a partnership with the University of Toronto, Canada. ISN has also supported the start of an acute PD program for AKI led by Tadesse at Black Lion Hospital through the Saving Young Lives initiative.

“The successful kidney transplants in Ethiopia, in which Momina played a key role, is a testimony to Naicker’s visionary leadership in nephrology education in Africa,” says Tadesse.

There is more to come as Tadesse explains: “We have finalised the nephrology fellowship program, which will hopefully be approved in the next few months and will be ready for taking on trainees in 2016.”

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