Liver disease is fairly common in Indian sub-continet. The most common being Hepatitis C virus and Hepatitis B virus related cirrhosis. Majority of these patients are asymptomatic until they reach the end stage when they may require transplantation. There is an emerging common cause of liver disease (fatty liver disease) which is related to poor diet and obesity — which is in fact emerging globally.
Although many patients suffering from liver disease need liver transplant, there is almost no services available for them in countries like Bangladesh. Treatment available in countries like Singapore are beyond the affordability of many of these people. There are some centres in India who provides transplant services at comparatively low cost than that of those developed countries. Global Hospitals, Chennai is one of them. They have five hospitals strategically spread across India with over 2000 beds offering multi organ transplant centers.
Prof. Mohamed Rela, who is the Head of Hepatobiliary & Liver Transplant Surgery at Global Hospitals Group, India recently visited Bangladesh to address an esteemed gathering of Hepatologists and spread awareness of the developments in liver transplantation in the Western countries as well as in the East. It is to mention that Prof. Rela is a pioneer in paediatric liver transplant. During his visit, he shared his views with Star Health.
Children are sometimes born with liver disease. The most common cause of liver failure in children is a condition called Biliary Atresia where children are born with no bile ducts. This condition requires immediate surgery after birth (within 8 to 12 weeks). Majority of these children require transplantation at some point of their life. Children also suffer from metabolic liver diseases which are inherited diseases.
Obviously the surgery in children are more technically challenging for some reasons, but at the same time the outcome of transplant surgery in case of children is comparatively better — Prof. Rela informed. Immunologically children are most likely to accept the transplanted organ more than that of adults.
As Prof. Rela served long time in the King's College, UK, he said, "The treatment cost in the developed countries is expensive mainly due the cost of healthcare professionals, not because of consumable, equipment, infrastructure, medicine or something else. So, if the developing countries can offer the expertise, the cost ultimately gets lower.
Prof. Rela hopes that Bangladesh will also develop the expertise of liver transplant in course time. There will be struggle for sure, but it is not that impossible.