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Groote Schuur Hospital and Red Cross Children’s Hospital reach major milestone with 50th kidney transplant

Groote Schuur Hospital (GSH) and Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital (RCWMCH) earlier this month completed the 50th kidney transplant between their surgeons and nephrologists. This marked a significant achievement as it surpassed the number of transplants performed between the two hospitals in a calendar year. This milestone is a direct result of the dedicated team of healthcare workers at the hospitals, as well as the generous donors and families who make these transplant procedures possible.


For many years, GSH and RCWMCH have remained at the forefront of advanced organ disease treatment and transplant surgery in the country. They have given hope to thousands of individuals with kidney failure, and in doing so, improved their quality of life where continuous, lifelong dialysis treatment was no longer needed. After transplantation, recipients have been able to return to school or work and live largely normal lives.

Jermaine Martin (25), who was the 50th organ recipient, is grateful for receiving the transplant and thanked his mother, Cheryl, who donated her kidney to him. “I am very happy to have received this transplant which has changed my life. I no longer need go through dialysis treatment three days per week. I would like to thank everyone at the hospital for their support and encourage others with kidney failure to not give up,” he said.

Cheryl is happy to have been a match for her son. “I was very concerned when we discovered that Jermaine had kidney failure in September 2022. I am happy that I was able to help him and improve the quality of his life,” she said.

RCWMCH, a leading specialist tertiary healthcare provider for children across Africa, has performed more kidney transplants in the last two years than any other public health facility in the country. In 2023, the paediatric nephrology unit performed seven kidney transplants, all which have been successful.

Prof. Mignon McCulloch, Head of the Renal and Organ Transplant Clinical Unit at RCWMCH said. “We work as a multidisciplinary team who are all well trained in treating children with kidney conditions. Very few centres in the country perform children’s kidney transplants due to its complexity.”

 

GSH and RCWMCH continue to pursue innovations in transplant care. Earlier this year, the hospitals implemented organ transplants using Glycorex technology for the first time in the public sector. This medical device enables transplants across the blood group barrier by placing a healthy kidney from a living or deceased donor into a recipient whose kidneys no longer function properly. To date, one recipient has successfully undergone a transplant at GSH using this device.

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