Mindanao Times

Rody: Affordable liver transplant soon in PH

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MANILA – Filipinos with liver failure find a glimmer of hope after President Rodrigo R. Duterte vowed to capacitate the National Kidney and Transplant Institute (NKTI) so that patients need not go abroad for liver transplant.

“Subukan natin dito. Ako, naniniwala ako. Hindi ako nambabarat—may pera at tutulong ako (I believe we can do it here. There is money and I will help),”

Duterte told the parents of a child with biliary atresia on Jan. 15.

He encouraged Ronald Naval and Kendy Aguilo to have their daughter, Sophie, undergo liver transplant in the country instead of in India, which the couple prefers due to the lower cost of the operation there.

A liver transplant in the Philippine­s is at least three times more expensive than

the P1.2 million needed in India but the cost is expected to go down once NKTI has a sufficient number of specialist­s and equipped with the necessary equipment and facilities.

Based on recommenda­tions of Senator Christophe­r Lawrence “Bong” Go, Duterte said it is better to have the medical procedure in the Philippine­s so that the patient can receive better pre-operative and post-operative care and has easier access to financial assistance from relevant government agencies.

Go cited the unfortunat­e case of Eren Arabella Crisologo, daughter of a Philippine Army soldier from Butuan City, who died from biliary atresia.

Duterte and Go first met baby Eren when they visited the wounded-inaction soldiers in a hospital in Cagayan de Oro City in March 2019. They sent the 11-month-old baby and her parents to India in June 2019, but the operation did not succeed.

“Sa kasamaang palad, nagkaroon ng komplikasy­on si baby Eren kaya hindi na-survive ang operasyon (Unfortunat­ely, she did not make it due to complicati­ons),” Go said during a meeting with key government officials and private health care profession­als in August 2019 to discuss the rising cases of biliary atresia in the country and the high cost of liver transplant.

Short-term and longterm solutions

During the meeting, Go, upon consultati­on with health officials and practition­ers, came up with short-term and long-term solutions to the problem that were presented to the President.

The short-term solution is to form a consortium composed of the Office of the President (OP), Department of Health (DOH), Philippine Children’s Medical Center (PCMC), and The Medical City (TMC), a private hospital.

The long-term solution involves acquiring equipment, developing the facilities of NKTI, and sending its specialist staff to Kaohsiung Chang-Gung Memorial Hospital (KCGMH) in Taiwan for training.

Under the consortium, the estimated budget for each beneficiar­y is PHP3.6 million, PHP2.9 million which will be spent on the operation at TMC while the rest will be for pre-operation and post-operation care at the PCMC.

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