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12.11.2008 Health

END OF AN ERA IN SIGHT

By newtimesonline.com

The Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital on Monday recorded what many of Ghana's medical gurus have described as a major breakthrough.

The premier tertiary hospital of Ghana performed its first kidney transplant, also the first in the country.

A statement issued by the Hospital said two more transplants were scheduled for yesterday and today.

The operation was a culmination of the combined brains of teams from UK's Birmingham University Hospital and their Ghanaian counterparts. It is worthy of note that the UK surgeons included a Ghanaian, Dr Dwomoa Adu, described as a surgeon of world renown.

On the Korle-Bu team were some of Ghana's best hands that ever held the scapel blade. These included Dr Charlotte Osafo, head of the dialysis unit, Dr Samuel Gepi-Attee, Dr Bernard Morton, Dr J.E. Mensah, Dr Mathew Kyei and Dr Henry Baddoo.

The Times is elated at the news. From Cardio where Ghana boasts the presence of the Frimpong Boatengs of this world, through urology where the late Prof Quartey and Dr J.E. Mensah have made waves, Ghana is about to tell another first in Africa – in kidney transplantation.

That is how we see the Monday operation at Korle Bu: it was the first steps of a toddler who has crawled for some years.

Whether the main job of last Monday was performed by the Ghanaians or the British team is immaterial. A child does not run before he can walk, and we see the feat as worth being proud about. Little by little, as the Ethiopians say, the egg will walk.

It is the height of cynicism and a display of total lack of appreciation of the workings of the world of medicine and/or surgery to suggest, even for a second, that “this is nothing” – implying that the Ghanaian team had accomplished no great feat.

Ghanaian social commentators must learn to appreciate the days of small beginnings.

What touches us even more is the comment of Dr Charlotte Osafo who saw the successful transplant as a victory for “my numerous dialysis patients and all those who have not been able to pay for the dialysis” We see in her utterance, the joy of a doctor whose heart bleeds for her helpless patients.

She has demonstrated that to her, a patient saved is all that medicine means to her.

As the Times looks forward to the day, very soon, when full scale kidney transplants will be carried out entirely by Ghanaian doctors, we urge the society to show what everybody knows Ghanaians for – hospitality.

A Kidney Foundation has been set up on the lines of Frimpong Boateng's Heart Foundation which has been saving many patients whose cases would otherwise have been hopeless.

Ghanaians, this is the time to show your love. Let us donate to the Kidney Foundation.

There are more than 200 cases waiting for attention. Without a transplant, a patient requires a dialysis treatment, and it costs more than 100 euros per session for a treatment that requires three sessions a week.

The cost of each transplant is $30,000! Our donations can reduce the cost of treatment for the suffering patients.

Meanwhile, the Times, on behalf of humankind, congratulates Dr Charlotte Osafo and the entire Ghanaian team.

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