Cuba performs 5,100 kidney transplants in four decades

Havana, Jan 24 (IANS) Cuba has successfully performed over 5,100 kidney transplants since Feb 24, 1970, an achievement on par with that of developed nations, an expert said Wednesday.

In a 42-year period Cuban surgeons have undertaken 4,751 kidneys transplants with dead donors and 397 with living donors, all free of charge, said Alexander Marmol Sonora, leader of the International Master in Transplant Coordination programme at the Public Health Ministry.

The living donors are close relatives, such as parents, brothers and sons, of the patients, the only donors Cuban health ministry accepts for that kind of transplants, reported Xinhua.

Nine health centers in the country can perform transplants with living donors, five of them in Havana, and the rest located in Santiago de Cuba, Holguin, Camaguey and Villa Clara, Marmol Sonora added.

He said that the recently opened Centre for Cell Engineering and Organ and Tissue Transplantation will raise the quality of the national programme of organ transplants on the island.

The doctor added that international researches have proved that it is four times cheaper to do a kidney transplant than keeping a patient in dialysis, which would cost $20,000 a year.

He said kidney transplantation in Cuba is totally free of costs for its citizens like the rest of other health services in the country.