KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysians spend years on the organ transplant wait list in public hospitals, not because of a lack organ donors, but because hospitals cannot handle the sheer number of requests.
An average of 60 organ transplants are done in government hospitals a year but there are 18,000 Malaysians on the waiting list.
The problem is there are only a dozen dedicated transplant surgeons in government hospitals, said Health Ministry deputy director-general Datuk Dr Jeyaindran Sinnadurai.
Malaysia has a large pool of potential donors — over 300,000 citizens have pledged their organs for use after their death. This does not include the living, related donors and other forms of organ donation methods.
“However, most transplants are done by general surgeons and the process is slow because they also have to juggle their daily duties,” Dr Jeyaindran said.
This means even if a patient is ready to undergo surgery in three months, he or she has to wait years.
To remedy the situation, Hospital Kuala Lumpur (HKL) has twinned with the renowned Royal Prince Alfred Hospital (RPAH) in Sydney to exchange ideas on improving transplant services in government hospitals.
RPAH’s kidney transplantation director Prof Steve Chadban, who is coordinating the programme, said there was a long waiting list and a shortage of donors in most countries.
“In Malaysia, however, there is a long waiting list coupled with an equally substantial list of potential donors.
by LOSHANA K.SHAGAR.