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Strengthening of Organ Donor Program Boosts Mexico's IMSS Lead in Transplants

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January 29, 2013

MEXICO CITY – Fifty percent of the nation’s transplants are performed by doctors in the Transplant Program of the Mexican Social Insurance Institute (IMSS), according to institute officials who said Monday that the program’s high transplant rate is the result of its staff and the strengthening of the Hospital Donation Network.

Patients like Rosa María García Sánchez have benefitted from IMSS hospitals throughout the country. Garcia Sánchez is a 61-year-old heart transplant recipient who had surgery on Jan. 19, 2013. She received a donated heart from Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, and underwent surgery at the National Medical Center’s Cardiology Hospital. She is now recovering, and doctors say her procedure was successful. The program demonstrates the efficiency of the IMSS in transplants and other patient services, the head of the donations department at the Donation and Transplants of Organs, Cells and Tissues Division of the IMSS, Rafeal Lechuga García, said.

He added that so far in 2013 the IMSS has preformed 64 kidney, 15 cornea, five liver and four heart transplants, going on to say that the agency laid the foundation for its success with the hiring of a hospital coordinator to offer specialized courses and training to doctors in organ transplant surgery.

The program, he said, has given the public confidence that donating organs is safe and secure. In Mexico today 17,259 patients are awaiting organ transplants, according to the National Transplant Center. The list stands at 116,865 in the United States, according to the Organ Procurement and Transplant Network. In 2012, 5,758 transplant surgeries were performed in Mexico, and 23,360 in the United States.

If surgery levels are similar in 2013, a patient has a slightly higher chance (5 versus 3 percent) of getting an organ transplant in the U.S.

Fifty IMSS hospitals located in 24 of the agency’s 35 zones are part of the Hospital Donation Network, and are licensed by the Federal Commission for Health Risk Protection (Cofepris). Lechuga García said the goal of the IMSS is to have one or more hospitals capable of performing transplants in each of the capital’s 35 boroughs.

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