In what has been termed a ‘gift of life’, a Cameroonian woman, Mengue Biakolo, has donated a part of her liver to her 39-year-old brother, Dr Essomba Biakolo.
Reports say Mengue donated the organ in a successful liver transplant at Manipal Hospitals, India, showcasing the bond between siblings.
In the first digital press conference of the hospital, Dr Rajiv Lochan, Lead Consultant, Hepato-Pancreato-Biliary (HPB) and Liver Transplantation Surgery in the hospitals, said the recipient was admitted into the hospital in January, as a result of a tumour in his liver.
Dr Lochan said Biakolo, a Cameroonian Obstetrician and Gynaecologist, suffered a cirrhotic liver due to a viral hepatitis B infection.
“Dr Biakolo, an unassuming gentleman came into my office some months ago and explained his issue. It turned out that he had diluent hepatitis for many years.
“Unfortunately, there is a growth in the liver and one of the approaches to this problem is to do an operation to remove the growth.
“But unfortunately, on the assessment day, the quality of his liver and the amount of the liver that would be left behind if we eventually do the operation was really not going to be enough for Dr Biakolo after the operation.
“The next option will be at least to do a liver transplant to remove the whole liver and replace it with a healthy liver,” he said.
This, Lochan said, required a living donor, which Biokola’s sister was brought down for evaluation and found to be fit for a donor.
The lead consultant noted that liver transplant is a regular surgical operation in the hospitals with close to 98 per cent success.
This job, he said, was made easier by the recipient for the patience and readiness for the transplant.
The medical expert, who described as high cases of viral hepatitis in Africa, asserted that the story of the Biakolos should inspire those who fear this noble cause.
He explained the hospitals carried out donor-recipient compatibility tests and factored in the health status of the donor before the transplant.
He noted, however, that the transplant was possible because the liver is an organ that could grow back to normal within two to four weeks of the removal.
In his comment, the elated Biakolo said that his case was a message for patients with cirrhosis and liver cancer that hope was not completely lost.
He said he got wind of the infection in 1997 during a blood donation test.
The liver recipient said her sister had recovered and since joined her family, while he was observing post-transplant care.