Saturday June 30, 2012
Ministry: More liver donors needed
By LIM WEY WEN
KUALA LUMPUR: As many as 2,500 to 3,000 people develop end stage liver failure every year, all of whom will benefit from a liver transplant.
However, there are not enough donors, said Health Ministry Head of Surgical Services Datuk Mr Harjit Singh.
“Liver transplants can relieve suffering, improve and even extend the life of patients,” said Mr Harjit, who is also former Selayang Hospital head of hepatobiliary surgery.
A new liver is required usually when it is severely damaged due to inflammation and infections as well as chronic alcoholism and hepatitis.
While the procedure overseas will cost at least RM125,000, Malaysians only have to pay RM500 at public hospitals for a transplant as it is heavily subsidised by the Government.
“The actual cost is about RM100,000.
“However, the main limitation is the disparity between supply and demand, or the shortage of deceased donors,” said Mr Harjit.
He was speaking at a cheque presentation ceremony by Maybank to the Selayang Hospital’s Liver Transplant Trust Fund here on Thursday.
Currently, liver transplants are only performed in the Selayang Hospital.
According to hospital statistics, there are 17 people – nine children and eight adults – on the waiting list for livers.
However, many have died while waiting for a transplant as only about 10% will have a chance.
“About 25% of those who need liver transplants are children,” said Selayang Hospital director Dr Siti Zaleha Mohd Salleh.
The first liver transplant in Malaysia was performed in 1995 at the Subang Jaya Medical Centre (now Sime Darby Medical Centre), and the first liver transplant in Selayang Hospital was carried out on April 10, 2002.
After donating RM5mil in 2002 to set up the hospital’s Liver Transplant Centre – Maybank, through its Maybank Foundation, contributed another RM162,000, including RM12,000 raised from the bank’s recent sports events.