Posted on January 01, 2019

In a remarkable achievement, the number of patients who travel abroad for organ transplants has reduced dramatically in recent years with zero post-transplant complications recorded as result of unique Doha Model of Organ Donation. In 2018, a total of 44 transplant procedures (comprising 36 kidney transplants and eight liver transplants) were conducted in Qatar. The country has achieved 83 percent self-sufficiency as far as organs needed for transplant procedures.

About 85 percent of patients received living organ donations and cadaver (after death) donations approved by the Medical Ethics Committee with no post-transplant complications, said Professor Riyadh A Fadhil, Director of Qatar Organ Donation Center (HEBA) at Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC). “Development achieved in organ donation in Qatar has moved the Qatari model to an international level. The challenges we encountered and managed to subdue transformed HMC into a centre of excellence in this field, and the documented Qatari experience has become highly respected and visible at global conferences where lessons are learnt from such experience,” he told The Peninsula. Fadhil is also World Health Organisation (WHO) expert on Organ Donation and Transplant.

Statistics reveal that 10 years ago, 2009 in particular, 95 percent of patients from Qatar travelled abroad in search of organ transplants, many of whom returned home with transplanted organs of unknown sources and suffering various types of post-operative complications. “Due to meticulous testing, screening, extensive medical investigation, and proper follow-up which both donors and recipients, are subjected to, post-transplant complications of procedures performed at HMC in the past five years have been marginal. We have neither lost any patient nor have we lost transplanted kidneys to post-transplant complications, making us comparable to advanced world-class organ transplant centres,” Professor Fadhil said. “The remarkable development in the domain of organ donation and transplant came as result of the collective and sincere efforts made by many medical, nursing and administrative staff in HMC and unlimited support by the management of the Corporation and the Ministry of Public Health,” he added. 

The number of registered Cadaver Donors has reached around 340,000 from around 100 ethnic groups in Qatar by end of 2018. At the inception of the Donor Registry in 2012, the number of registered donors had not exceeded 2,000, but year after year the numbers doubled until it reached 340,000 which is equivalent to 18% of the entire population of Qatar. “We are proud to say, the first and largest of its kind in Middle East region,” said Prof. Fadhil.

Qatar Organ Donation Center and Qatar Organ Transplant Center have become internationally recognized destinations for those seeking organ transplant or donation from inside or outside Qatar. For expatriate patients suffering from kidney failure and have no family members to donate kidneys for them, the local authorities facilitate bringing patients’ first-degree relatives into the country for help, in so far the potential donors are physically fit and the tissue matching between donors and organ recipients are successful. “Financial costs associated with of the donation, such as the transplant procedure costs, accommodation and travel costs of donors, are covered by the Qatari Red Crescent Society,” said Prof. Fadhil. “In an unprecedented move, Qatar was the first country in the world to bear all costs and expenses pertaining to donating and transplanting of human organs. This move bolstered confidence of both donors and recipients of organs,” he added.

The rate of inter-relative organ donation among Qatari citizens is also one of the highest in the world. Statistics show that matching relative-donors have been found, or being prepared, for most of Qatari patients on the waiting lists for organs. “We have 25 Qatari patients awaiting organ transplant but we have 31 relative-donors under preparation; that is to say that a patient may have more than one relative willing to donate an organ for him or her,” said Prof. Fadhil. “One of the unique and unprecedented incidents we have encountered was that a Qatari patient in need for an organ had 12 relatives pledging organ donation. Tissue matching would be determinant in this case, and in the event more than one tissue matching is established, donors decide amongst them on who the donor would be,” he added. 

source: The Peninsula