The surgery was performed on 8 June, on a 29-year-old Emirati woman who had kidney failure due to diabetes. The mother of two needed to undergo four hours of haemodialysis, three times a week over the last year.
The kidney from a deceased donor was provided through the Saudi Center for Organ Transplantation (SCOT) in Saudi Arabia, the reference centre for organ transplant in the GCC, led by Dr Faissal Shaheen.
The kidney was transported from Riyadh to Dubai by a medical evacuation plane, and the transplant was conducted in Mediclinic City Hospital in Dubai Healthcare City. Several government authorities played a vital role in ensuring the swift and safe transportation of the kidney to the hospital, including Dubai Airports, Dubai Ambulance, Dubai Customs and the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs.
The surgery marked the launch of the MBRU Organ Transplant Program, which aims to establish, through partnership with healthcare providers, services for organ transplantation in Dubai to meet the growing demand in the country.
Her Excellency Dr Raja Easa Al Gurg, Vice Chairperson and Group Chief Executive Officer, Dubai Healthcare City Authority (DHCA), said: “We at DHCA aim to create the necessary infrastructure to address challenges in the healthcare sector, such as the demand for organ transplantation, to ensure that Dubai residents are healthy and happy individuals. We are proud that MBRU, our first medical university, has launched an organ transplant programme and has successfully conducted the first kidney transplant in Dubai in collaboration with Mediclinic City Hospital.
“This initiative stems from an effective and balanced strategy for MBRU that aims at achieving regional leadership and global recognition in the fields of education, scientific research, medical services and community engagement. We are very thankful to SCOT for being instrumental in driving this initiative in Dubai and grateful to all the entities which contributed to the success of this first surgery.”
Dr Amer Ahmad Sharif, Chief Executive Officer, Education Sector, Dubai Healthcare City Authority, said: “MBRU aims, through this programme, to serve humanity, unify efforts among organ transplant programmes in the region and position the UAE as a prominent centre for organ transplantation. The success of the first organ transplant surgery in Dubai is the first step in this new era. We at MBRU are proud of partnering with Mediclinic City Hospital in this effort and special thanks goes to the joint team that has conducted this surgery.”
Over the last two years, MBRU has worked with the community to ensure awareness and preparation for its Organ Transplant Program through carrying out the National Survey on Organ Donation and Transplantl, as well as organising the 1st UAE Organ Transplant Summit in October 2015 and the 1st UAE Organ Donation Forum in May 2016.
Following the success of the surgery, M.A, the kidney recipient, said: “Having the confidence that my home country has the expertise in organ transplantation brought me much relief as I could undergo surgery, here at home, surrounded by my loved ones.
“This surgery has given me a new lease on life, not only because I can be healthy again but also because it has given me the opportunity to bring a new life into this world as I would love to have my third child after I recover. I want to urge each and every member of my society to consider becoming donors as they will be gifting life not only for one individual but for a whole family,” she added.
The surgery was performed by a highly qualified team led by Dr David Hickey, a well-known transplant surgeon and Former Director of the National Kidney and Pancreas Transplant Program in Ireland, and Dr Farhad Janahi, Assistant Professor at MBRU and Consultant Urologist, and the Mediclinic City Hospital Transplant Team.
Christian Schuhmacher, Hospital Director of Mediclinic City Hospital, said: “I would like to acknowledge the trust that the Mohammed Bin Rashid University of Medicine and Health Sciences have placed in us to carry out this important procedure. This heralds a new era in surgery in Dubai and gives new hope to many who are reliant on an organ transplant to restore their quality of life. The execution of this surgery is also an excellent example of how government authorities and the private sector can work together to further the boundaries of healthcare available in Dubai.”
The programme was also supported and accredited by SCOT, the Ministry of Health and Prevention, and the UAE National Organ Transplant Committee.