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Transplantology in Belarus: who gives second life to people?

Merits of Belarusian organ transplant surgeons certainly deserve to be put down in the books of modern day history of Belarus. What is more, the Republican Scientific and Practical Center for Organ and Tissue Transplantation is among the nominees for the State Prize Award. This clinic is one of the largest in Eastern Europe. Belarus is among the top 20 countries where there is such a medical aid development level.

Alexander Kupriyanov:
I couldn’t walk, sit, or stand up. The ambulance arrived straight away. When I was examined, it turned out that I had an illness. But fortunately, everything is fine now.

Today he doesn’t stop thanking doctors.

Alexander Kupriyanov had a liver transplant in 2014. And it is the third year now that he has been living a different, productive, and most importantly, a healthy life. The before and after life periods of Alexander are like the Sahara Desert and the North Pole, they are completely different. Thousands of people are in need of such a chance. And not only Belarusians are.

Sergey Ivashkov has a story of his own. Some 20 years ago he had icterus, and the illness left some negative consequences. In the end he had to be operated on. He was the second person in Brest to have a liver transplant. It is a completely different life for him today.

Sergey Ivashkov:
I am thankful to my doctors. The life before and after the operation is as different as day and night.

Belarus is among the top 20 countries where organ transplantation is highly developed. Belarus is the leader among the CIS countries. As for the first position in the world, Spain has been an absolute leader in terms of the number of operations for 20 years. Croatia is not far behind.

The first organ transplant operation in Belarus was performed during the night of April 2-3, 2008. This was when Belarusian surgeons transplanted a liver for the first time. It marked the beginning of real hope for thousands of Belarusians. Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko instructed to build a clinic of international standard in Belarus. The Republican Scientific and Practical Center for Organ and Tissue Transplantation was opened in 2010. About 2,500 operations were carried out in this center alone.

Oleg Rummo, Head of the Republican Scientific and Practical Center for Organ and Tissue Transplantation:
I think that in the next five years this number will be 60,000- 70, 000, and that’s 10 advanced world countries in this sphere.

The medical know-how wasn’t seen in Belarusian regions straight away. The first transplant operations in Gomel were performed in 2012. Gomel surgeons were taught by Minsk specialists, but anyway, they managed to open a new page in the medicine of the region.

Boris Kabeshev, surgeon of the Transplantation, Reconstruction and Endocrine Department of the Republican Scientific and Practical Center for Organ and Tissue Transplantation:
Transplant operations in Belarus are performed pretty quickly. The numbers are less than in the waiting lists in other countries.

Many foreigners come to Belarusian transplant specialists. Primarily from the CIS countries. The medical export has increased by 25 times. Nevertheless, a foreigner can be offered a transplant only when the organ didn’t genetically match anyone from Belarus who is in need of such an operation.

Yulia Kirichenko is from Dnepr, Ukraine. After having dialysis for almost 1, 5 years, it was decided for her to be operated on in Belarus. She received the long-awaited phone call just two months after having her name put down on the waiting list.


Yulia Kirichenko:
The situation with transplant operations in Ukraine is far from being perfect. It is practically impossible to have an organ from an unrelated donor.

Ivan Ivanov and Yuriy Buyko are both long distance truckers and they both love their jobs and lives. It seems that they could have met earlier. However, life made its adjustments and the two men met in a hospital room.

Yuriy Buyko:
Of course, I need to change my lifestyle. I am full of optimism and happy now.

Ivan Ivanov:
The surgical director said that it is time for me to go home.

As for heart transplants, Belarus is once again in the lead. At least among the CIS countries. A complex transplant operation of heart and lungs was performed in 2016.

Yuriy Ostrovsky, Head of the Cardiological Surgery Laboratory of the Republican Scientific and Practical Center for Organ and Tissue Transplantation, corresponding member of the National Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Belarus:
The next step is the development of mechanical support blood circulation systems. As many as 50-60 heart transplants are required in Belarus annually, and three to five complex transplant operations. And implantation of about 50 heart pumps as well.

There aren’t many competent specialists today. Small babies are operated on too. And this is a lot harder. Millimetric vessels and even the stitching material is thinner than a single hair.

Kolya is eight. He has already seen a lot in life. Nevertheless, he comes to the Center with his teddy bear called Vova. It is no mere chance, though. Kolya is the first child to have a liver transplant in Belarus. Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko presented the soft toy to the boy in 2010.

Small Liana was on the brink of death too. An ordinary mushroom dish led the whole family into trouble. It was false death cap mushroom poisoning that she had. Unfortunately, Liana’s grandparents didn’t survive. Thanks to a liver transplant, Liana managed to survive.

Alexander Lukashenko, President of the Republic of Belarus:
Live and keep an eye on your child. Good luck to you, Alenka. We’ll meet again, okay? Invite me and Oleg to your wedding. Agreed.

It is great success of Belarusian medicine. Some enlargements are planned in the specialized Centre. The perspective is to create a universal base, which will include the City Clinical Hospital № 9 and Minsk Consultative Diagnostic Center. Technologies with a cardio module and a module of cellular technologies with a bone marrow transplant block are planned to be built.

The number of transplant operations has increased more than sixtyfold since 2005. Surgeons from all over the world come to Belarus to adopt practices of Belarusian colleagues. More than 200 foreign specialists undertook internship at the Republican Scientific and Practical Center for Organ and Tissue Transplantation in the last five years.

Oleg Rummo, Head of the Republican Scientific and Practical Center for Organ and Tissue Transplantation:
Our task is to help a specific person at a specific moment, when he needs it. So that this person can live an ordinary life.

The success of Belarusian transplantology speaks volumes. And more importantly, it gives such long-awaited and such essential hope. Hope to recover.

Transplantology in Belarus: who gives second life to people?