The Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) is neither buying kidneys nor allowing prospective donors to sell them to recipients.
Dr. John Ngigi, a kidney specialist and senior director of Kenyata Primecare Centre (KPCC) says that a kidney donation is an act of humanity, which should be done out of love.

At the moment, sale of kidneys and any body organ in Kenya remains illegal.

“My agenda is to make Kenyans understand that Kidneys, and indeed organs are not for sale. You cannot be able to sell an organ, not only the illegalities, but natural justice. Sale of organs is prohibited by the Kenyan law and international law, we subscribe to it,” he told Citizen Digital in an interview.

“This is not a market for selling kidneys and no hospital in this country will be involved in such a practice.”

Before a kidney transplant is done at the Kenyatta National Hospital, rigorous tests are done on both the donor and recipient to ensure compatibility.

“A very rigorous activity is done to make sure that recipients will derive utility from the kidneys. We make sure that donors do not get into any medical problems. We take months to ensure that the donor passes through tests and is able to donate a kidney safely,” Dr Ngigi said.

Other than the medical nod, there are legalities under the binding the kidney donation process to ensure safety of both parties. This is outlined in the consensus statement of the Amsterdam forum.

“For the recipient, institution makes sure they go through the process in a safe manner and human resource should be able to accommodate them. The rights of the recipient is like that of any other person undergoing surgery,” said.

Dr. Ngigi, who also doubles up as the President of the Kenya Renal Association highlights the rights that a donor has in the kidney transplant procedure.

“The donor; having attained a legal age and understood everything that it takes to donate must sign an informed consent. If the donor understands what they are expected of and sign, we are free to go. They understand all the risks involved. For the donor you need to take more precaution to make sure they understand what they are getting into.”

After its launch by President Uhuru in May 2022, Kenyatta National Hospital’s Centre for Kidney Disease and Organ has increasingly been performing kidney transplants.

“Before the centre was opened, we would do a transplant every two weeks, right now we can do much more because there is capacity and human resource.”

According to Dr. Ngigi, kidney diseases are becoming prevalent because of rise in diabetes and hypertension.

“Offering dialysis isn’t the answer. We believe and know from data elsewhere that the more we transplant, the better. It makes economic sense, the government has invested heavily to ensure that patients who are transplantable get transplanted,” he said.

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