Bone Marrow Transplants Now Available in Kazakhstan

ASTANA – As a result of the Unified National Health System implemented in 2010, important strides have been made in healthcare provision in Kazakhstan. Recently, the nation has seen its first successful bone marrow transplants.

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Surgeons in Kazakhstan are constantly adding new surgeries to the range of operations they can perform in the country.

Kazakhstan’s second successful bone barrow transplant was conducted at the National Research Centre for Maternal and Child Health of the National Medical Holding in Astana. Young patient Temirlan Myrzagali, 6, from the Akmola region, suffered from acute lymphoblastic leukemia. His twin brother Meirlan was the bone marrow donor. Their physicians say the two boys are doing well.

The first bone marrow transplant in Kazakhstan took place on April 25, 2012. The patient was a 14-year-old boy from Ust-Kamenogorsk who suffered from acute myelogenous leukemia. The surgery was also conducted at the National Research Center for Maternal and Child Health in Astana.

The surgeries were carried out jointly by doctors from the National Research Center for Maternal and Child Health and their colleagues from the Raisa Gorbacheva Institute of Pediatric Hematology and Transplantology in St.Petersburg, Russia.

Until now, children from Kazakhstan had to go abroad for bone marrow transplants. This type of surgery costs from $200,000 to $250,000. Now this highly specialized medical procedure is available in Kazakhstan. The two bone marrow transplants already completed, as well as the recovery care afterward, have been paid for with state medical funds.

Moreover, people with leukemia have received treatment at the Almaty Scientific Centre of Child-Care and Pediatric Surgery. All phases of the transplantation of hematopoietic stem cells, all the necessary laboratory tests and studies were conducted at the Scientific Centre of Pediatrics and Pediatric Surgery. Specialists at the centre were trained in the best hospitals in Germany, Israel, South Korea, the Czech Republic, Russia and Belarus. In addition to the strong clinical practice, attention is paid to patients’ comfort. There is a private room for children with onco-hematological diseases and their parents, including daycare service.

The Ministry of Health of Kazakhstan is currently working out a road map for developing children’s oncology care services in Kazakhstan. Departments specializing in children’s oncology treatment are planned to open in 2013 in the Centre for Maternal and Child Health.

The lack of donors is one of the most significant barriers for widespread transplant availability. In 2011, the transfusion centre began compiling the first registry of hematopoietic stem cell donors. However, the registry needs to be developed. More than 300 people with serious blood and immune system diseases need transplants annually. To cure a sick child with leukemia, a single donor is selected from thousands of people. Collecting bone marrow from donors does not require surgery and is very safe. Doctors urge the people in Kazakhstan to join the national bone marrow donation registry and take the opportunity to save a life.

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