Muscat: “If a patient needs an organ and you are fit and have the ability to donate, make sure you don’t delay the donation, as the longer it takes, the higher the chances of trouble,” advises Nasser, a 28-year-old Omani who has pledged to donate a kidney to a fellow Omani.
Oman has over 1,600 patients who are waiting for a kidney and with very little culture of organ donation in the country, getting one in the short term seems to be a dream for most of these patients.
However Nasser, a resident of Al Mussanah, decided to take the pledge and help Nasima, his wife’s friend.
“Nasima is the wife of my family friend Adil, and when I heard of her plight, I decided to donate one of my kidneys. She has a three-year old child, and I think I have done the right thing to help her live more comfortably,” he added.
“I have been wanting to donate a kidney for more than a year now. Earlier, it was for my cousin, but he passed away, and I had this idea of donation in mind from a long time. So when I heard of Nasima, I decided to donate a kidney to her.
“Most people are scared of donating a kidney. They think they will die or fall seriously ill, but it is possible to live a healthy life with one kidney, and we have numerous examples of that,” he said.
Nasser says that he is only sad about the delays he has been facing with the entire process, “Every time I go to the hospital they ask me for a lot of papers and the appointments are given with a long gap, so that is taking our
While the donation has not yet taken place, almost 80 per cent of the tests of both the donor and receiver have matched, and doctors say, if all goes well, the transplant will take place next year.
Nasima, also 28, has been suffering from renal problems for nearly four years and has been on dialysis for the last nine months. She was diagnosed with a kidney ailment in the second month of her pregnancy. She is not the only one to have suffered kidney failure in her family. “Although I was shocked to be diagnosed, I was not very surprised because hypertension, diabetes and kidney diseases run in my family. My father suffered from it and was on dialysis for three years before he died. I have a sister who suffered from kidney failure and got a transplant done in Pakistan two years ago, and my mother also suffers from hypertension and diabetes.” An English teacher at one of the schools in Ibri, Nasima, is required to undergo her dialysis at home or on the go, four times daily. She also visits the Royal Hospital and the hospital in her hometown twice a month, or whenever she is asked to come.
“The nurses at the hospital have taught me how to do the dialysis at home, and it is easy to do it by myself now. Earlier, it was difficult to keep track of time during the dialysis, but now I am used to it, and
the only thing I need to take care of is hygiene.”
Now with hope of a new life, Nasima encourages people to donate, especially kidneys. “Of course donating organs is correct because you help someone get a new life, but here in Oman they are worried about undergoing an operation. They want to help, but they think maybe it will affect their negatively,” she explains.
“In our village, they do not know that we have organ donation facilities in Oman, and when it comes to this issue, they look to India, Thailand, Pakistan, and other such countries. The Ministry of Health needs to educate people in our villages, and create awareness,”
She also highlighted that most patients who are awaiting organs are from the younger age groups, “Whenever I visit the hospital, I see 74 patients, and when I come back in three months, it crosses 100. So that needs to be curbed and lifestyle changes need to be made, especially since these are mostly younger people.”
Said is someone who underwent a transplant eighteen years ago, while he was in his 30s, because he was lucky to have found a donor within the family, “My brother donated his kidney, and that is a good thing because when it comes to receiving organs, it is the best to get one from your closest relatives.”
Now, 18 years later, Said is living a perfectly normal life and so is his brother. “People are scared to donate, but my brother is an example that people can lead normal lives with even one kidney.
“Of course appropriate precautions need to be taken before a donation,” he said.
“It is also better to undergo the transplant at a younger age because if one is older, it could result in complications,” he added.
- Names have been changed for confidentiality