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Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital in Nigeria set to conduct liver transplants



Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital

As part of efforts to save the lives of patients with dysfunctional liver, Government-owned Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital is set to initiate and conduct liver transplants.

This comes as a result of the Hepatitis B virus, which is a leading contributor to liver diseases having a significant prevalence in laboratory examinations in teaching hospitals.

This extensive prevalence is attributed to the low vaccination rate and the ineffectiveness of national policies in managing and preventing chronic liver diseases.

Professor Abdurrahman Abba Sheshe, the Chief Medical Director (CMD) of the Aminu Kano Hospital, shared during the inaugural Liver Surgery Symposium in 2020, titled “Advancing Liver Surgeries in Nigeria,” that the hospital was making preparations to initiate liver transplantation services.

He expressed concern about the significant incidence of liver diseases in Nigeria saying, “Proactive actions should be applied to reduce the mortality, which is 100 per cent”.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2018, the number of deaths attributed to liver diseases in Nigeria reached 60,044, accounting for 3.10% of the total recorded deaths.

In an article jointly authored by healthcare professionals from Nigeria, published in the Journal of Biosciences and Medicine, Volume 9, Issue 7, 2021, the liver was characterized as the “primary internal organ with an array of functions surpassing any other organ, capable of sustaining life even when only 10% to 20% of its tissue is functional.”

The authors added,

Regrettably, the liver can experience inflammation due to a multitude of causes, including toxins, biochemical factors, pharmacological substances, bacterial infections, or immune-mediated attacks.

According to reports, over 1.5 billion individuals worldwide are afflicted by various forms of chronic liver diseases, resulting in an annual death toll of two million.

In Nigeria, it’s estimated that 2-20% of the population, equivalent to 35 million people, are infected with hepatitis B and C viruses, exhibiting prevalence rates ranging from 4.3% to 23.3% and 0.5% to 15% across different regions of the country.

As a proactive measure, the hospital has undertaken training for consultant surgeons and established a team of specialists for liver surgery.

Furthermore, they have successfully acquired a significant portion of the necessary technical equipment for this procedure.

A consultant surgeon, Dr Garzali Ibrahim Umar, who received specialized training in liver transplant abroad, emphasized that liver transplant is often essential for patients dealing with conditions such as liver cancers, liver cirrhosis, and acute liver failure.

The introduction of liver transplants at the hospital holds the potential to offer much-needed relief to patients suffering from chronic liver diseases and contribute to a significant reduction in the high mortality rate associated with these conditions.