The Clarion Call Care Group and the Nisa Medical Group, have called for more care and support for organ donors across the country.
The group made the appeal at the 2023 Inaugural ‘Living Donor Day Celebration’, organised to honour selfless individuals, who had donated an organ in Abuja.
Dr. Ibrahim Wada, the Founder of Nisa Medical Group, said the event, which is the first of its kind in Nigeria, was organised to connect and honour individuals who had “given the gift of life to others.”
“I say to them, your courage, compassion and generosity have touched the lives of countless individuals and families and for that we thank you.
“Through this event, we aim to not only recognise but also offer our support to living kidney donors who have often undergone challenges in their journey to give life to someone else.
“We want to provide a platform for living donors to share their experiences, to connect with others who are on similar journeys and to receive the support and care that they rightfully deserve,” he said.
Mr. Joseph Uma, the first Kidney Donor in the South-East, said inadequate awareness had remained a setback to the donation of organs, especially kidneys, to those in need.
“Let me use this opportunity to tell everyone to take me as an example, I had those fears but I tried to encourage myself and push the fears aside.
“So I encourage everyone to donate because it can happen to anyone close to you, your wife, child or relation.
“Though you will have some discomfort at the beginning but after a while, it will fizzle out. There is no need to entertain fear,” he said.
Ms Mary Brown, a nurse from the U.S. said the event was also aimed at appreciating persons who had donated one of their organs to save the lives of others.
She said it was important for Nigerians not to be scared of donating, as it is fulfilling in seeing someone coming back to life because of a kind gesture.
“For us in the U.S., we celebrate an entire month for all the living donors in the month of April, because you can give more than just a kidney.
“And we are here to celebrate all the 13 transplants we have done here. And we want to give special thanks to the donors that allowed those other patients to get off dialysis and have a better quality of life and a long quantity of life as well.
“So for us, it is important to let the donors know that we care about them, their health. We want to be a resource for them so that we can take care of them if anything happens,” she said.
Mrs. Miriam Onuoha, Member, House of Representatives, Imo State, said it was important for the country to have legislation on insurance for living donors in the country.
“I am here to offer our legislative intervention on the promulgation of a living donor protection bill.
“The National Health Act of 2014 talks about issues relating to blood donation, transfusion, tissue transplantation and organs.
“But a lot more needs to be done as regards welfare and aftercare for the donors. I believe that if we allay those fears and set this foundation straight, we will have a pool of more donors who will be willing to come for testing and donate this gift of life,” he said.
Ms Evyln Abrakson, a living kidney donor, who shared her experience after donating to her mother, said that it was fulfilling to give someone another chance to live.
“My story is a bitter-sweet one because I donated to my mum and sadly she developed complications which led to a stroke and she passed on.
“She didn’t get to enjoy the kidney, but she got to live for almost two years. it gave us an opportunity to see life in a different way.
“The whole journey has changed my perspective on life. I have a better understanding of what your kidneys are to you and so I don’t sweat about things in life.
“If I had another kidney and someone has a need for it, I will still give it. So being a living donor is just being joyful that you can give someone else hope. Even though my mum didn’t make it, I am happy I took that decision,” she said.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the high point of the event was the launch of a book titled “Priceless’’ authored by Mr. Joseph Uma, the first living donor from South-East Nigeria.