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First successful liver transplantion the country

Picture: Health Minister Gagan Thapa (2nd right) briefs the media about the first ever successful liver transplant procedure in Nepal at Human Organ Transplant Centre in Bhaktapur, on Thursday. Also seen are a team of Nepali and South Korean doctors.

Kathmandu, December 9, 2016: In a major development in the country’s health sector, a 41-year-old man successfully underwent a liver transplant—the first ever such procedure—at a government health facility on Wednesday night.

Balram Naga underwent the 10-hour long liver transplantation surgery at the Human Organ Transplant Centre (HOTC) in Bhaktapur. His sister Sanu Maya Lageju, 39, donated the organ.

The hospital said both the patients are “doing fine”. “They should be kept in close observation for around four months,” doctors involved in the surgery said.
A team of doctors from South Korea’s Samsung Medical Centre assisted Nepali doctors during the surgery. The Korean experts were led by Professor Dr Jae-won Joh and Professor Dr Choon Hyuck David Kwon.

With the beginning of liver transplantation, patients can now avail the service in the country for around Rs1.5 million, while the procedure costs more than Rs10 million in India and other countries.

Health Minister Gagan Thapa said the liver transplantation has opened a new horizon in the country’s health sector.

“This is a great achievement. Apart from accessing facility at home, people can also save a lot of money,” said Minister Thapa, speaking at the press conference organised by the centre on Thursday. “Health Ministry will always support such innovative ideas which directly benefit people.”

Dr Pukar Chandra Shrestha, who led the team of Nepali doctors, said the local doctors would gradually adopt the technology and perform such operations independently in future.

One estimation suggests there are around 800,000 people with liver ailments, while 10,000 patients might be suffering from chronic liver disease. Doctors said that all of the patients with chronic liver disease require transplantation. They pointed out excessive use of alcohol as a major cause for the chronic liver disease. The liver transplantation comes close on the heels of endorsement of Human Organ Transplantation Regulations, 2016, which opens up the door for liver transplantation. The previous regulation had limited the transplantation to kidney.

During the transplantation, doctors cut off around a third of donor’s liver and put it in the body of the recipient. Rejection of the organ by recipient’s body is one of the major risks ofthe surgery.

By Manish Gautam