S'pore doc sets up Myanmar liver transplant centre, Others news, Health News, AsiaOne YourHealth
The Straits Times
By Salma Khalik
SINGAPORE - Rising costs - along with more living donor liver transplants being rejected on ethical grounds here - have persuaded one of Singapore's top liver transplant surgeons to set up a centre in Myanmar.
Dr K. C. Tan's firm, Asian American Medical Group, is pumping in $160,000 to set up an $800,000 liver centre in a hospital there. A liver surgeon from Myanmar will put up 30 per cent, while the owners of the Pinlon Hospital will pay half of the total.
Dr Tan expects his team to fly there for a few days every month to run clinics and do surgery when it opens towards the end of this year.
Given Myanmar's high rates of Hepatitis B and C, he said, many there suffer from liver problems and need transplants.They will start with basic liver surgery. Once the medical staff there are more familiar with the follow-up care liver patients need, Dr Tan and his team will start live-donor transplants.
The centre will also give foreigners, who may find it too expensive to get their transplant done in Singapore, another option, he added.
This also applies to those who are turned down by the Transplant Ethics Committee, which has to ascertain that there is no coercion or commercial transaction involved.
"Liver diseases like Hepatitis often run in families, so it is sometimes difficult to find an immediate family member who is a suitable donor," he said.
Dr Tan said the rejection rate for non blood-related liver donations has been going up over the past three years.
In 2010, two out of six such applications were turned down. While the next year saw all 10 applications allowed, in 2012 two out of three were denied. Last year, three of the five applications were rejected.
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