FMC Umuahia Pioneers Kidney Transplant

Emmanuel Ugwu, Umuahia

After years of exposing its medical personnel to acquire the needed skills, the Federal Medical Centre (FMC) Umuahia has successfully carried out kidney transplant thereby becoming the first medical facility to achieve such medical feat in the Southeast zone of Nigeria.

Though it was its first time of delving into the sophisticated surgery of transplanting kidney from donor to recipient, the FMC medical team made it double success as two patients received kidneys in a spate of two days.

It was gathered that the medical team led by Dr Obi Ekwenna of the University of Toledo Medical Center, Ohio United States in company with Mr. James Ogbuka Umekwe performed the kidney transplant surgeries between Thursday and early hours of Saturday last week.

The donors were said to have presented themselves at the tertiary hospital and a kidney was harvested from each of them for the respective recipients, who received the body organs.
The first transplant was performed on a 37 year old businessman, whose name was simply given as Mr. Oji from Ohafia in Abia state. It was gathered that the medical procedure which commenced at 11.20am on Thursday with the harvesting of the kidney from the donor ended at 1.00am on Fridaywhen the kidney was successfully given a new home in Oji’s body.

Not done the medical team after some rest commenced the second transplant procedure and, this time, the recipient was a 68 year old medical doctor, whose name was given as Dr Charles, a native of Umuahia. He received a functional kidney after a marathon medical procedure, which ended at 12.15am on Saturday.

By weekend the donors and the recipients, who are placed on the intensive care unit of FMC were said to be doing “very well”. Oji said he had been battling with kidney problem for about four years while Dr Charles said that he had his for four months old.

On his hospital bed Oji expressed profound gratitude to the FMC Umuahia because “they provided wonderful opportunity for poor people like us without the means to go abroad for transplantation. We also thank God for using the medical team to save our lives”.

Leader of the medical team, Dr Ekwenna confirmed the successful medical feat that happened at FMC Umuahia, saying that the kidney transplant operations were excellent by any standard anywhere in the world.

He said that the operations were actualized through the dedication of the medical team he worked with as well as the hospital management headed by the Chief Medical Director (CMD), Dr Abali Chuku.

“Dr Abali Chuku is a strong and committed leader. We met few years ago and he expressed desire to have transplantation center in the South East Nigeria at his FMC and I pledged to assist with my team in Toledo.

Ekwenna further stated that the partnership between his team and FMC Umuahia would not end with the successful transplant operations as the team from U.S would engage in transferring skills to FMC medical teams and also return to render more professional assistance, including performing more kidney transplantations.

Speaking on the new development, the CMD, Dr Chuku Abali said that with the successful transplantations, the FMC Umuahia was realising its dream of having a Kidney Transplant Service which would provide most affordable and efficient kidney transplant services in the Southeast zone.
He disclosed that the hospital was targeting to carry out 40 kidney transplantations in 2018, adding that the general public should collaborate with the hospital to make it possible especially by donating the needed organs.