AS part of the campaign to sensitize Nigerians and propagate the act of organ donations, Lion’s Club International District 44A1 has facilitated cornea transplant for five Nigerians successfully in Kenya .
The group made this known to reporters when they arrived Nigeria from Kenya with the five cornea beneficiaries, Adewale Opeyemi Segun 18 years, Kikiope Ayodele 6 years, Emmanuel Omojua 7 years, Esther Augustine 17 years and Mrs. Adenine Bolarinwa, 34 years.
According to Immediate Past District Governor, Olatunbosun Okpeseyi, the successful transplant was borne out of a passion of service to humanity and giving back to the society especially the less privileged.
He said it was a worthy project to be able to give to people stating that Nigerians were not used to giving organs even when they no longer need them after death but stressed that Nigerians can live to give the gift that keeps on giving
Dr. Mosul Faderin who is in charge of the eye bank, Lagos State Teaching Hospital ( LASUTH) and also a member of the Lion Club explained that cornea transplant happens when someone who has had problems with the front part of eyes as a result of injury or measles.
According to her this leads to the eyes becoming white and a loss of sight.
She stated that for the transplant what is needed is someone who is dead and has given permission for his or her cornea to be used to give another sight but that the person is well-tested for diseases not because it is not a safe process but to show whoever is receiving the cornea feels safe.
“The cornea has no blood vessels so nothing can be transmitted. In fact it is 99.99% safe but we carry out the tests to assure that what the beneficiary is getting is entirely safe”, Dr. Faderin said.
She however stated that people do not make these kinds of donations to the eye clinic and when donated after death, if not harvested the cornea would not be usable after 18 hours, and when harvested it must be kept in a special device for 14days.
On whether a facility was available in Nigeria where these Transplant is done, Dr. Fader in said,” Oh! We have the facility at LASUTH the reason why these kids were flown to Kenya is because that was where the corneas were donated.”
“The intricacies of harvesting corneas are much and we need to have donations. There are many people on the waiting list to receive this cornea and when we wanted to carry out the transplant, we got corneas from the United States but they told us that given the time it will take to do the paper work and send over that it may be too late arriving in Nigeria; and so we had to go to Kenya where there were some.”
Also speaking Lynda Odi Okpeseyi said another challenge the group faced was the financial implication of going to Kenya for the surgery saying that apart from the cornea which costs $2500, there was a process fee of $1000 and $700, then there was also fees for tests like HIV, Hypertaitis and a host of others.
” We really cannot but a price to all but roughly we spent N 8, 708,000 to cater for the five beneficiaries and their families which is no mean feat but like we said, it’s not about the money but about the need to give a gift that keeps on giving,” she said.