The new transplant centre at the Cornwall Regional Hospital made further progress this week, with another successful transplant carried out, and surgical skills progressed thanks to support from a visiting volunteer medical team from the UK called Transplant Links (TLC).
Medical history was made in Jamaica last year when three kidney transplants took place at CRH, the first step in the plan to develop a sustainable kidney transplant centre for the people of Jamaica with kidney failure. All the patients have done very well, and have returned to a normal life away from a kidney dialysis machine. Early signs of the transplant carried out this week are that is it also going well. Their lives have all been transformed by the transplants.
TLC helps save lives by setting up kidney transplant programmes in countries that have the in- frastructure but not the expertise to run a kidney transplant programme. The volunteer team of sur- geons, doctors and nurses is sponsored by Sandals Resorts who are accommodating them during their stay, and by CHASE fund. The project is also receiving the support of the National Health Fund.
Dr Curtis Yeates, Consultant Kidney Specialist from the Cornwall Regional Hospital said “This is an important milestone in this project. There are many people suffering from kidney failure in Ja- maica, mainly because there is so much diabetes and high blood pressure. A transplant is their only hope of a normal life again. We are very grateful for their help, and to Sandals, CHASE and NHF for helping to making it possible”
“It’s great to see that the patients from last year have done so well” said Professor Paul Cockwell from the Transplant Links team. “A sister gave a kidney to her sister; a wife gave a kidney to her husband, and a sister gave her kidney to her brother. Their lives have been turned around by these transplants. One of the donors, Ricardo’s sister has even had a baby since donating a kidney to save her brother. Carrying on this work is essential so that many more with kidney failure can benefit”. In the words of Shaneke who received a kidney from her sister last year: “there are a lot of young people on dialysis and they’re unable to work because of what they are going through. It is burden- some on their families and if they get the chance to get a kidney transplant they can support their family and contribute to the economy”.
Mr Andrew Ready, Consultant Renal Transplant Surgeon from the UK and Medical Director of Transplant Links said “We are delighted to return to help with this project. During the summer, the two surgeons from Cornwall Regional Hospital Dr Roy MacGregor and Dr Dwayne Hall, came to the UK to observe more transplants to develop their skills. On this occasion they were able to take a much more active part in the transplant surgery, which is an important step in the progress for the sustainability of the project”
Dr Jennie Jewitt-Harris, CEO of TLC said “The TLC team have an international reputation as high- ly skilled clinicians who are generous with their time and knowledge. This was acknowledged by the Health Minister for Jamaica Dr Fenton Ferguson who thanked them in person. We’re delighted to be back in Jamaica again supporting this important project”
In his speech to the team and everyone involved in the project, The Health Minister Dr Ferguson said: “On behalf of the people and the government of Jamaica we salute TLC for this initiative and saving lives across the world. Thank you”
Fundraising continues as the plan is to continue the project and transfer of skills over the next 2 – 3 years. For further information and to support the project please visit www.transplantlinks.org. To donate to the cause text “TLCJ88 £5″ to 70070. Like us on facebook at www.facebook.com/transplantlinks