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Healthcare scheme a transplant lifesaver for over 3,000 Thais

Dec 24. 2017
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By The Nation

Thousands of lives have been saved in almost a decade since organ transplantation had been added to the National Health Security Office’s (NHSO) universal healthcare scheme for Thai citizens, said NHSO deputy secretary-general Dr Chuchai Sornchamni.

About 3,634 Thais have received transplants over the past decade under the universal healthcare scheme, according to figures gathered by Chuchai.

Fiscal year 2018 will see a Bt148 million budget for transplanting organs and supplying the drugs that will suppress the immune system of organ recipients. Recipients must take immunosuppressive drugs for the rest of their lives.

The NHSO is also to focus on building links with related agencies to promote organ donations and boost patient access to organ transplantation, while also improving the transplantation services, Chuchai added.

Chuchai said that kidney transplantation was first added to the scheme in 2008 as part of the care for end-stage chronic kidney disease patients, with liver transplantation added in 2011, heart transplantation in 2012 and corneal transplantation in 2013. 

This year alone saw 195 people get a new kidney, while in the decade from 2008 to 2017, 1,350 people received kidney transplants (an average rate of 135 cases per year), he said.

This year, 28 people received a new liver and the past seven years (2011-2017) saw 155 people receive liver transplants. Nine people received a new heart this year, while 65 received heart transplants over the past six years (2012-2017). This year 421 people got a new cornea, and 1,702 people received corneal transplants since 2013, he added.

The NHSO has also covered hematopoietic stem cell transplantation since 2008 as part of the treatment for leukemia, lymphoma and aplastic anemia or for other diseases as needed, Chuchai said. This year, 51 people underwent stem cell transplantation, and the past decade saw a total of 362 people undergo the surgery.

 

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