By Zubeida Mustafa
: Pakistan joined the ranks of a number of other Islamic countries in medical technology when the first cadaveric kidney transplantation was carried out at the Sindh Institute of Urology and Transplantation (SIUT) on Thursday.
Although Pakistan has had a transplantation programme (thanks to (SIUT) for more than a decade now, and organs from cadavers have been obtained from Europe, this was the first case of a cadaveric donation in the country.
Navid Anwar, a young man of 24, the son of Anwarul Haq Fatmi, made history by becoming the first cadaveric donor. A student of Chartered Accountancy, Navid was critically injured in a road accident on Saturday. He was admitted to the ICU of the Liaquat National Hospital where he was put on a ventilator. Despite the best efforts of the neurological team, Navid could not survive. He was pronounced brain dead by the neurologists there.
On the family’s request his kidneys and corneas were donated for transplantation. The transplantation team of SIUT grafted the kidneys in two patients who were being dialyzed at the Institute for the last two years and had no family donors. Wajid (25) and Farhan (19) were selected as the recipients on the basis of tissue matching. There are 500 or so patients of renal failure at the SIUT who need transplantation but have no donors. Farhan became the 647th transplantation recipient at the SIUT. Mohammad Rashid from Azad Kashmir had been the first in 1986.
Navid’s grief-stricken family are aware of the importance of organ donation to save the lives of patients with endstage renal failure. They thought of donating his organs when they were told that this young man could not survive.
“We knew how it felt to lose a family member in the prime of his life. We wanted to save other families from this agony by saving the life of some other young person. Now we have the satisfaction of knowing that my brother will live on through the four other people who have received his organs,” Navid’s sister, Shazia, said.
About 35,000 people suffer from endstage kidney failure in Pakistan every year. Only a fraction of them (nearly 100 every year at SIUT) receive an organ from a live related donor. The other survive on dialysis but the quality of their life remains poor.
In other Muslim countries such as Saudi Arabia, Iran, Oman, Jordan, Turkey, Lebanon, Egypt, Tunisia, Kuwait and Bahrain, which have national cadaveric organ donation programmes, transplantologists obtain organs from cadavers to meet the need of their patients with endstage renal failure. Pakistan has been slow in this respect. Though some corneal donations have been made in the country, until now no case of cadaveric kidney donation has been recorded.
According to neurologist, nearly 150 people are admitted to the ICUs of the public hospitals in Karachi every year who are declared brain dead. If people could be motivated to donate cadaveric organs, the transplantation programme could be expanded and liver, heat and lungs could also be transplanted. At present the kidney transplantation programme depends on live related donors whereas the Eye Bank imports corneas from Sri Lanka.
Source: Dawn, 6 November 1998,