All parents wish that their babies are delivered free of any congenital anomalies. Nevertheless, birth defects often occur when we least expect. Sadly, this is what happened to Amari, a 15 year old boy in the US who was born with a defect in the heart. On account of the serious defects, he underwent three corrective heart surgeries before age of two years. “He missed a lot of his childhood milestones,” his mom said on CNN.
Surprisingly, Amari was perfectly okay till the age of 14years when when the story turned sour. It was discovered in one of his visits to the Cardiologist that his heart was already failing and may no longer be able to support him.
Amari’s mother Juaquinna Hall, recalled the courage displayed by him that day. “He looked at me, and he said, ‘what are you afraid of? it is my time.”
Amari was admitted to University of Maryland Medical Centre, Baltimore in December where he was on the waiting list for a heart transplant.
After three months, Amari’s family was eventually contacted by the doctors that they have found a compatible heart. “
A week after the surgery, Amari was back to his “cheery self,” . “We put the music on and he started dancing ,”his aunt Hunter said.
Amari was discharged mid-may, hoping to return to school soon according to his doctors.
Watch the video which has gone viral here.
More information on Organ Transplantation?
It is a medical procedure in which an organ is removed from one individual and placed in the body of another.When an organ fails, it is extremely difficult to maintain bodily function without organ replacement.
Where Are Organs Acquired From?
Organs could be from the living or dead .
Organs harvested could also be preserved. Common organs transplanted are kidney, heart, lung, liver, pancreas, bone, and intestine.
It is Illegal to sell organs. Individuals that need organs are placed on a waiting list and matched with volunteer donors that are usually anonymous.
Apart from the difficulty in willing donors, the body may reject incompatible organs.
Organ Transplantation in Nigeria
It is noteworthy that most transplant procedures in Nigeria is kidney transplantation which started 17 years ago. Nigeria is one of 5 African countries that currently have the capacity to perform Organ Transplantation. The others are South Africa, Kenya, Sudan, Mauritius.
Over 160 kidney transplants have been done in Nigeria. Most were successfully done in private hospitals although some teaching hospitals seem to have the capacity too.
Presently about 10 centers in Nigeria offer Kidney Transplant service in Nigeria.
Other transplant done in Nigeria, though not as common as kidney are bone marrow and cornea transplant. Although, open heart surgeries have been reported in Nigeria, there is no record of heart transplants.
Can Everyone in Nigeria donate organs?
No. Only persons above 18years that can give written consent are allowed to donate organs.
Challenges in Nigeria
- Socio-cultural beliefs and myth-The use of organs has been linked with ritual killings which elicits fear.
- Difficulty in finding donors-It is extremely difficult to find willing donors
- Ethical issues- There have been reports of middlemen forcing poor individuals to exchange organs for cash. In Nigeria, a medical doctor was alleged to have criminally harvested two kidneys from a patient presenting with fever.
- Inadequate facilities and technical know-how-Some health centers have adequate facilities but lack specialist with skills required to perform transplant surgeries.
As a result of these challenges many Nigerians have organ transplantation done in India which is cheaper and has fewer bottlenecks than the US.