OECS director general praises local kidney transplant programme

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Antigua & Barbuda’s history-making kidney transplant programme has come in for high praise from the Director General of the Organization for Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), Dr Didacus Jules.

Commenting on the milestone, Dr Jules said the entire OECS region was in awe of Antigua & Barbuda’s accomplishment, which has reverberated right across the region.

“I think it is a historic occasion, not just for Antigua & Barbuda but the entire OECS, since we have had strong co-operation going on in this sector of health. We discussed areas of collaboration, initiatives that we need to take jointly in the OECS. So when we got the news that Antigua & Barbuda had done this successful operation there was very high praise coming from all the member states,” Dr Jules disclosed.

Dr Jules said plans are now in the pipeline to establish an OECS organ donor programme so that citizens of the sub-region can access the care and treatment they need when that time comes.

“The PAHO representative said that given what has transpired in Antigua & Barbuda, we should consider the establishment of a regional organ donor database in the OECS, so that it will be easy for persons requiring such transplant in the future to tap into the entire OECS in order to get the support they require for such transplants,” Dr Jules noted.

“We are definitely moving in the right direction, and we are going to build upon that platform that Antigua & Barbuda has established to take it further with that organ database,” he said.

The first successfully completed kidney transplant was performed in the twin island state on January 16, during an eight-hour procedure at the Mount St John’s Medical Centre, by a 14-member team comprising four surgeons, two anesthetists and eight specialist nurses.

The surgeons were Dr Obi Ekwenna and Dr Mike Rees of Toledo, Ohio, USA along with Antiguans, Dr Dwayne Thwaites and Steve Richards. Local doctor, Ian Thomas also played an instrumental role in the success of the operation.

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