Policlinica Metropolitana in Caracas became the setting that allowed Venezuelan pediatric liver patients to be treated locally, provided training for Venezuelan doctors and other health care personnel during procedures, and finally led to the establishment of a pediatric liver transplant program within Fundahigado. The program is set up into two key components, the medical treatment program and the educational training program.
1. Medical treatment program:
Over the last seven years in Caracas, Venezuela, Dr Pedro Rivas-Vetencourt and his Fundahigado medical team, and Dr Tomoaki Kato of Columbia University, New York, USA in the context of the Medical Educational Agreement, have evaluated dozens of patients with liver disease to define whether or not they could be potential candidates for treatment. A strict medical and social evaluation process is used to determine whether patients are eligible candidates for liver transplant. Medical options, risks, benefits, and consent forms are discussed and signed with the patients legal representatives. Fundahigado has been responsible for covering the financial cost of medical treatment for these patients, through government funds and private donations, thereby eliminating social-economic factors from the decision process. This program is certified and supervised by the Venezuelan government, through its office of Organ Donation and Transplantation at the Ministry of Health. The one-year survival for patients treated in this program is more than 90%, similar to US based pediatric liver transplant program rates.
2. Educational program:
The educational program is supported by an educational agreement with Columbia University that includes planned visit of health care medical personnel form the US based Transplant Program to Venezuela. An important benefit of a local education program is that it developed within its definitive operative setting, allowing procedures and methodologies to evolve and accommodate the hospital´s operative and institutional structure and secured a more successful initiation and better healthcare treatment for the patient.
This approach required significantly less financial resources compared to the cost of sending professionals in each of the necessary healthcare fields associated with transplantation to hospitals in the United States for a period of at least two (2) years. These professionals include pediatricians, pediatric transplant hepatologists, transplant surgeons, nurses, transplant coordinators, psychologists and social workers.
Please visit Fundahigado in Venezuela at www.fundahigado.com