The National Kidney Foundation says that related living donors are best, but a willing donor is better than no donor.
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There’s a misconception that when a healthy living person donates a kidney, their life will be in some way compromised.
That’s just not true, says the National Kidney Foundation of Malaysia (NKF) and real organ donars during a webinar aimed to raise awareness for organ donation.
Malaysians shared their real-life experiences living with end-stage kidney failure (ESKD), which has no recovery and requires long-term dialysis.
The only hope for patients with ESKD is kidney transplant, which will give them new life– literally. However, the deceased organ donation rates in Malaysia stand at just 0.86 donors per million inhabitants, so the wait is long and often fruitless.
Another life from the living
But there’s another way: kidney donations from living donors. While not a perfect cure for kidney failure, transplant recipients have a significantly longer and better quality of life.
In fact, Dr Wan Zul Haiki Hafiz, medical lecturer and clinical specialist of Nephrology at Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) Teaching Hospital, explained that the most optimal kidney transplant should be from living donors, and encourages the transplant from the patient’s spouse or extended blood relatives.
Having an emotional tie is better for both parties, and often may lower the chances of the donated organ being rejected.
However, even if patients cannot find a relative, any willing donor is better than none. If the donor is unrelated to the patient, they can still come forward and consult a nephrologist, says Dr Maisarah Jalalonmuhali, a consultant nephrologist and physician at University Malaya Medical Centre (UMMC).
If the nephrologist decides that the unrelated patient and donor can move forward with the procedure, they will be referred to an independent body called ‘Unrelated’ – with interviews conducted to ensure that there is no conflict of interests between the patient and donor. They will then decide if they can proceed with the transplant procedure.Dr Maisarah Jalalonmuhali
“It made our bond stronger”
Malaysian actor Mohd Eyzendy Aziz, also known as Along Eyzendy, is the recipient of a kidney donation from a living donor. His wife, Hamidah Mohd Yatim, donated her kidney to him, which provided him with a second chance at life.
For Eyzendy and his ‘angel without wings’, it’s certainly a bond that will tie them closer and stronger than ever!
Mohamad Rafi Mohd Isa, a teacher with stage 4 kidney disease for almost 8 years, had to be hooked up to a dialysis machines for a four-hour treatment three times a week. Even his children would join him there, treating the diaslysis centre as a ‘playground’ while they wait for their father.
His wife, Nur Asyikin Mohamad Nadzri, donated her kidney to him, also allowing him a second lease of life. Nur Asyikin dispelled fears around being a living organ donor too, as she continues to lead a healthy and fulfilling life– with her husband, who now is no longer chained to constant dialysis treatments!
If you are keen to become a donor and give someone else new life, check out your eligibility HERE.
Anne is an advocate of sustainable living and the circular economy, and has managed to mum-nag the team into using reusable containers to tapau food. She is also a proud parent of 4 cats and 1 rabbit.