HAVANA._ With the aim of having 20 organ donors per million inhabitants by 2017, Cuban health authorities aim to resolve all transplant related necessities in order to accomplish this social commitment.

Antonio Enamorado, chief of the Cuban Ministry of Public Health‘s National Organ Donation and Transplant Program, said that while there is great interest in the scientific advancements, patients are the most important.

With the aim of having 20 organ donors per million inhabitants by 2017, Cuban health authorities aim to resolve all transplant related necessities in order to accomplish this social commitment.Speaking at the recent Intermediate Course in Transplant Coordination held in Santiago de Cuba and Havana, he said that “we seek real solutions to the problems of patients as part of our social commitments.”

This is something very different, he added, because “our whole focus is on the patient and all those involved in organ donation; the family of the deceased as much as the living donors.”

Attended by regional coordinators, the courses enabled Cuba to acquire accreditation with the support of Spanish specialists from the Transplant Procurement Management (TPM).

In reference to outcome inconsistency, Enamorado said that the sector is determined to optimize resources that derive from the adequate and rational utilization of both human and technical resources.

“We have accumulated experience,” he said, recalling that 547 heart, 471 liver, 423 bone marrow, and 5,158 kidney transplants had been performed in the country since the program was first launched in the 1970s.

“Our objective is to have an organizational fabric that is robust, resistant, and able to constantly adapt to new circumstances,” he added.

“In 2002 and 2003 we were close to having 20 donors per million, but we later encountered some difficulties which led to the adoption of a new regionally divided organization,” commented the expert, alluding to the five Donor Coordination Centers.

In addition to the 20-donor norm, other objectives within the 2 year  framework aimed at providing solutions, are the audition of procedures and results, and continuous training programs; particularly those on stopped heart and vital organ recuperation.

Jorge Alberto Miranda, thed Ministry of Public Health´s Medical Attention director, highlighted the importance of certification and accreditation in light of Cuba’s interest to integrate itself at an international level.

He stressed that Cuba performed liver, heart, bone, cornea, and haematological transplants, and is making great advances with stem cells.

The area where most progress has been made, however, is kidney transplants.

At the time of the course, Cuba celebrated 30 years since the first successful bone marrow transplant was performed at the Immunology and Haematology Institute (IHI).

The historic operation, on May 7, 1985, was the culmination of various attempts made in previous decades at different health centers in Havana and countless trials undertaken on animals.

For Porfirio Hernández, IHI’s Research and Teaching vice director, the introduction of this type of transplant has been a complex task because even though the obtaining and transplant of bone marrow is relatively simple, postoperation complications are likely to appear.

He explained that generally, ”there is a platelet level drop experienced after the surgery, with an increased risk of haemorrhage, as well as a similar leukocyte fall that augments the risk of infection. All this makes it necessary to keep the patient isolated in an aseptic environment.”

One of the Cuban advantages lies in better donor-recipient selection and pairing for the different types of transplants. This is done at the IHI‘s Center for Cellular Engineering and Organ and Tissue Transplants, using state of the art compatibility-testing technology, similar to the ones used in specialised institutions in developed countries.

It is expected that during 2015, IHI will launch haploidentical testing that is based on using the bone marrow of a partially compatible family member.

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