Video: How a crucial organ donation program is saving lives in the UAE

Dubai: The extensive kidney disease and transplant awareness campaign in the United Arab Emirates launched in March by the Dubai Health Authority (DHA) has reaped many benefits.

This not only served to remind people to pawn their organs and attract more traffic to the Ministry of Health and Prevention (MoHAP) organ donation portal, Hayat, but also saved the lives of those battling kidney disease and those waiting. list of organ transplants.

Hundreds of transplants

Talk to Gulf NewsNujood AlKhloofi, National Transplant Coordinator at the MoHAP National Transplant Committee, who is a member of the DHA Oversight Committee for Organ Donation and Transplantation, provided an estimate of the number of organs transplanted up to here.

“Since the Organ Donation and Transplantation Act was established to include deceased organ donation in 2016, Dubai has performed more than 40 kidney transplants from deceased and living donors, and throughout the Arab Emirates united, there have been transplants of more than 200 different vital organs. from deceased donors,” AlKhaloofi said.

Kidney disease on the rise

Of all the organs, the kidney is the most commonly transplanted organ and chronic kidney disease (CKD) is on the rise due to a higher incidence of diabetes, hypertension and other disorders metabolic disorders that affect a large portion of the UAE population and have a direct impact on kidney health.

The Nurse’s Story

Take the case of Reeza Babu, a 36-year-old intensive care nurse at Mediclinic City Hospital, who recently received a kidney from a donor who died in February after battling kidney disease for more than 14 years. The nurse and her family are delighted with this gift of life. Reeza now plans to return to work soon and give back to patients through her hard work.

Diagnosed with CKD at the age of 24, Reeza, who was placed in strict isolation for a period of three months after her transplant, shared her story.

Reeza Babu, a 36-year-old intensive care nurse at Mediclinic City Hospital, who recently received a kidney from a deceased donor in February after battling kidney disease for more than 14 years. The nurse and her family are delighted with this gift of life.
Image Credit: Supplied

“I collapsed”

“I’ve been battling kidney disease since I was 24. I was fresh out of college, collapsed one day and after testing doctors found that almost 70% of my kidney function had been damaged. I had no family history of kidney disease, no diabetes, and no symptoms. It was the weirdest thing. Since then I have been working hard to lower my creatinine, taking steroids. However, my disease only progressed and since 2017, after joining Mediclinic, I have been on dialysis twice a week.

She added: “I am grateful to the doctors in Dubai for making my transplant possible.”

Reeza, who married in 2011, lost her unborn baby to high blood pressure, triggered by her kidney disease in 2012, she was told she would have to give up the idea of ​​being a mother. She was devastated but continued her work and came to Dubai to work in healthcare.

“I’m out of the woods now”

“Before coming to Mediclinic City Hospital, I used to work in other institutions. I am grateful that I came to this place, which has a transplant program. I could not have managed a transplant in India due to the unavailability of organs and the high cost of transplant. The team of doctors here were very considerate and supportive. My husband, my parents are so relieved that I am out of the woods now and one day I will be too mother,” Reeza said.

A social cause

Commenting on the life-changing impact of organ transplants, Dr. Waldo Concepcion, Professor of Surgery at Mohammed Bin Rashid University of Medicine and Health Sciences (MBRU) and Consultant Transplant Surgeon at Al Jalila, said Gulf News“Almost 40% of UAE residents suffer from lifestyle-related diseases such as obesity, diabetes and hypertension. In these cases, anyone could progress to chronic kidney disease.

He added: “At present we have over 2,000 dialysis patients in our care and they are all candidates for kidney transplants. It is important to have preventative health checkups periodically and to get liver and kidney function tests and other comprehensive blood tests to avoid complications. People should consult their doctor and pay close attention to their diet, nutrition, and physical fitness to take control of their health and avoid organ damage. However, it is important that people are aware of organ donation and informed of its importance.

Anyone can need an organ donation

Dr. Concepcion further added that educating people on the importance of pledging their organs through the UAE Ministry of Health’s organ donation portal, Hayat, was the great need of the hour.

“People need to be made aware of organ donation. Take a good look, tomorrow you or your loved one may need an organ. Organ donation is the best indicator of social good in the community. It is the most selfless act that represents kindness in human beings. “

Dr. Farhad Al Janahi, Assistant Professor of Surgery at MBRU, Consultant Urologist and Transplant Surgeon at Mediclinic City Hospital, said: “Do you know that a single individual can save up to eight lives by pledging their organs for a deceased gift?”

He added: “The organs that fall under this competence are the heart, the pair of lungs, the pair of kidneys, the liver [that can be split in two] and the pancreas. All they have to do is go to the UAE Ministry of Health website and register for organ donation. Everyone can do it.

How to donate a kidney

Dr. Janahi said there are two ways for a kidney patient to get a kidney donation. “In the United Arab Emirates, a patient can get a kidney from a living donor. These include relatives up to the fourth degree or may be on the waiting list for organ donation from deceased persons.

“When a living donor comes in for a donation, we do a thorough examination to determine the health status of all organs, including the heart, lungs, liver and kidneys. hypertension, diabetes, heart disease and other congenital diseases.

Who is not eligible to be a donor

A person who smokes, is an alcoholic or diabetic or suffers from high blood pressure is not eligible for organ donation, simply because they are likely to end up with kidney failure and need to keep the two bodies, he added.

Next steps

In the event of a deceased organ transplant, the recipient is added to the waiting list and is prioritized according to the severity of the condition. A tissue match is performed before the transplant of the deceased organ. The patient is initially placed in isolation and put on immunosuppressants for life. Once the organ is not rejected, the patient is able to fully resume life and live a full life.

Dr. Concepcion added: “Organ donation is truly a gift of life. Once a person with end-stage kidney disease receives a kidney donation, they can resume their life as before.

How to register for organ donation

Anyone can promise that their organs will be harvested after death. An organ donation program like Hayat is the only first-person consent for organ donation that the hospital or doctors can refer to before the intervention of family or relatives.

Once a person is ill or involved in an incident and is admitted to hospital, doctors do everything to bring them back to life. In the event that he or she loses his or her life or becomes brain dead and has already pawned the organs, the hospital will alert the National Organ Procurement Team in Abu Dhabi, which is working in conjunction with the National Committee United Arab Emirates Transplant Center which has representation in each Emirate.

There is a centralized waiting list for organs and according to priority; the removed organ is transplanted into the recipient. It is a full team effort between the transplant committee, transplant coordinators, doctors, nurses and committee members who must initiate the correct protocol to ensure that the organ removed reaches the right person on time. Graft life cycle

Graft life cycle


The lifespan of a harvested organ is limited and it must be transplanted within this short period of time. :
Heart: 4 hours
Liver: 8 hours
Lungs: 8-10 hours
Liver: 8 hours
Kidney: 12-24 hours

In Dubai, there are three designated kidney transplant centers – Dubai Hospital, Al Jalila Children’s Specialty Hospital and Mediclinic City Hospital. Doctors and nurses work in full tandem and their goal is to transplant the removed organ to the recipient in less than an hour for best results.


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