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May 30, 2017

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Brunei's first kidney transplant concludes, declared a success

"With the option of a transplant, they can have a better quality of life — they can perform daily tasks with less effort, they can work or pray uninterrupted, not having to worry about going through constant dialysis."

Previously, the government sent eligible kidney transplant patients to Singapore or Malaysia for the operation, at a cost of approximately US$100,000 per patient, said YB Pehin Hj Adanan.

"Patients would have to stay there three to four months to prepare for the surgery. But now that we can offer transplants locally, the cost of the surgery would be around US$40,000."

The minister added that the cost of the operation is still significantly lower than dialysis, which he estimated costs the government US$120,000 to US$140,000 per patient per year.

"And that is not including medication or the equipment. With the introduction of the local kidney transplant program, patients will be able to do their treatment at home and not be away from their families for a prolonged period."

To date, the government has sent 27 Bruneians to undergo the transplant surgery overseas.

"The most important factor of this new development is that we reduce the burden to the patient, families and the cost to the state," added Jackson. "They will have a longer life and it will also increase the quality of life."

The Ministry of Health carried out a detailed feasibility study on the implementation of the local kidney transplant program, weighing the costs and benefits to the public.

"After the success of the first surgery, other eligible patients without many complications will be able to undergo a kidney transplant in the country and live a normal life, performing daily activities without relying on dialysis," said the minister.

Brunei has one of the highest prevalences of end-stage renal failure in the world, with one in 10 people suffering from some form of kidney disease.

According to a previous report, about 30-40 percent of Brunei's 500 dialysis patients are eligible for kidney transplant. A recent survey also indicated that 80 percent of respondents said they would donate a kidney to a loved one.

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