Last year, Belarus became one of the top 10 countries for organ donation and deceased donor kidney transplantation. This achievement would not have been possible without a valuable partnership between renal centers in the UK, Belarus and Russia.
In 2010, the ISN Sister Centers collaboration between the Kidney Unit at Oxford Radcliffe Hospital, UK and the National Center of Nephrology, Dialysis and Kidney Transplantation in Minsk, Belarus led to 18 successful pediatric transplants in Belarus.
“The ISN Minsk-Oxford collaboration has been enlightening, exciting and rewarding for participants from the emerging and supporting centers,” explains liaison officer Aleh Kalachyk.
The country has four transplant centers (Brest, Grodno, Gomel and Minsk) and a pediatric transplant center in Minsk. Overall, 310 kidney transplants were performed in 2013 compared to 70 in 2008. Since the Oxford-Minsk partnership started in April 2009, 79 pediatric kidney transplants have also been carried out.
ISN Sister Renal Centers Program (SRC) Chair Paul Harden believes that the growth of sister center partnerships puts undeniable efforts into developing more transplant opportunities. The Belarus-Oxford pair has now formed a trio partnership with the Saratov State Medical University Regional Hospital in Russia, offering clinical staff training in nephrology and renal transplantation. In 2012, they began preparations to set up a new kidney transplant program in the Russian center. The first of several cases were carried out at the end of 2013.
The first Regional Continuing Medical Education course took place in Saratov helping update clinical services for the increasing number of patients on hemodialysis. Many patients over 65 years old now have access to dialysis. The diversity in participants reflected the energy of the CIS Regional Committee, the number of new members from outside the Moscow and St Petersburg circuit and the increasing awareness of what ISN has, and can, contribute to enriching nephrology in the region.
Increasing transplantation opportunities in the developing world is a strong priority for the ISN SRC Program. Success in carrying out this life-saving procedure is due to the dynamism of trio and traditional partnerships, and the dedication and humanitarian enthusiasm of the clinical teams involved.