DR. JULIUS LUYIMBAZI: So, would you donate a kidney?

Muhammad Kabanda, a vendor in Owino market has accused Old Kampala Hospital of harvesting his kidney without his consent.

Muhammad Kabanda, a vendor in Owino market had accused Old Kampala Hospital of harvesting his kidney without his consent.

It is said that every cloud has a silver lining. Now that the mystery of the “stolen” kidney of Mr. Kabanda Mohammad has been conclusively settled by the Medical Council, we can’t allow the dust to settle without learning a thing or two.

So, after all, it is possible for a man to live a healthy life for 25 years with only one kidney. Strange as it might sound, it is true that you don’t need a whole pair of kidneys to live and function normally; one is just enough.

Every year, there are over 30,000 people worldwide who donate their kidneys to someone else and continue to live healthy lives, pretty much like Mr. Kabanda. In fact, after six decades of successful kidney transplantation, research shows that kidney donors live out their lives fully. Their life expectancy and their lifetime risk of developing kidney failure do not differ from yours and mine. (Assuming that you have two kidneys).

But with a bit of scientific knowledge, this should not be so surprising. A single kidney is a collection of up to a million mini-filters designed to remove waste and excess water, control the production of red blood cells and regulate blood pressure, among other functions.

Upon removal of one kidney, the remaining kidney compensates for the functions of the removed kidney by filtering faster and more efficiently so that the donor suffers no deficit in function. In the long term, it may even grow bigger. Because of these seamless compensations, living donors generally rate their experience positively; 80-97% of donors say they would have donated again in retrospect.

Following the passage of the Human Organ Donation and Transplant Bill 2022 by Parliament last month, it won’t be long till kidney transplant services commence in Uganda. And knowing that there are over 390 Ugandans on dialysis due to chronic kidney disease, soon your relative or friend will ask you to donate them a kidney.

So, now that you are armed with the science, would you donate a kidney?

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