ORGAN TRANSPLANTS, THE DEVELOPMENT OF RELATED NON-GOVERMNENTAL ORGANISATIONS IN SLOVENIA
Anastazija Bizjak and Branko Mrak
Organ and tissue transplants are the most modern method for treating end-state chronic organ failure, and have been conducted in Slovenia since the very beginning of this field of medicine. This year marked the fortieth anniversary of the first kidney transplant at the University Medical Centre in Ljubljana. Doctors in Slovenia routinely perform kidney, liver, pancreas, heart and bone marrow transplants. The longest post-transplant survival is a patient who has had a transplanted kidney for forty years, which bears out the quality of the work by everyone involved. Several European countries including Slovenia formed an organization called Eurotransplant in order to promote and coordinate transplants among its member countries. Since 2ooo, Slovenian doctors have successfully transplanted around eight hundred organs. By all measures and standards we are at an exemplary European level. The Slovenian Transplant Association, which provides post-operational patient care, has four hundred and seventy members and celebrated its tenth anniversary this summer.
The Association carries out its mission as a humanitarian organization at state level, and volunteerism has become its standard work model. The members of our association are aware that we are citizens of Slovenia and that our work contributes to the development of the entire field. We cooperate with related organizations in Europe and abroad. The annual participation of our member athletes in the European Heart and Lung Transplant Games and membership in the European Heart and Lung Transplant Federation, as well as the winter and summer World Transplant Games and membership in the World Transplant Games Federation is a wonderful promotion for Slovenia. Slovenian transplantees are aware that we live in a country where this method of treatment is available and that we can get another chance. Every time we get together with our friends at these events, we try through discussion to find appropriate models of aid for places where transplants are not yet available.
(published in SINFO revue 2011)