Medical Support for First Afghan Kidney Transplant

Medical Support for First Afghan Kidney TransplantMedical Support for First Afghan Kidney Transplant

The first successful kidney transplant operation was performed in Afghanistan with the cooperation of Iranian medical specialists, said Dr Abdollah Bahrami, head of the Imam Reza Hospital in Mashhad, Khorasan Razavi Province, and the health minister’s representative for scientific and educational cooperation with Afghanistan.

“Performing kidney transplant surgeries in Afghanistan was one of the provisions of a memorandum of understanding signed in 2014 between the Mashhad University of Medical Sciences and the Afghan Health Ministry,” IRNA quoted him as saying.

“The first such operation was a parent-to-child kidney transplant performed on an 11-year-old Afghan girl at Loghman Hakim Hospital in the Afghan city of Herat,” he said.  

Before the surgery, 17 Afghan physicians, nurses and laboratory experts in two hospitals, Loghman Hakim and Kabul’s Khatam-ol-Nabeein, received three months of training from Iranian specialists.   

Bahrami also said that the laboratory tests for the surgery were done at the Imam Reza Hospital.

The 11-member Iranian medical team comprised specialists, nurses, operating room experts and laboratory technicians, all from the Mashhad University of Medical Sciences. The second kidney transplant will be performed at Khatam-ol-Nabeein Hospital in the near future.  

He pointed to Iran’s top position in the field of kidney transplant in the Middle East and said “on average, 3,000 kidney transplants are conducted in the country every year and Iranian surgeons have transplanted over 35,000 kidneys so far.”

Iran is even ahead of Turkey, which ranks first in regional scientific progress.

The method mostly used in transplant surgery in Iran is ‘living donor kidney transplant’ which is far more complex than kidney transplantation from a brain dead donor. The former method cuts the length of time patients should be on the waitlist.


In the previous calendar year that ended on March 19, Iran made a commitment to offer scholarships to 500 Afghan medical students with the aim to support the neighboring country in strengthening its scientific foundations after decades of successive wars and conflicts.

Afghan Minister of Higher Education Farideh Momand had earlier travelled to Iran to sign MoUs to expand educational cooperation between the two sides.

Momand noted that while there are 35 state-run and 117 private universities across Afghanistan, Afghan students prefer to study in Iran due to the quality of education in Iranian medical universities. “I also believe they are right,” she said.

After India, Iran is the most popular destination for Afghan students seeking medical training abroad. Successive wars and conflicts in Afghanistan for decades have caused social, economic and educational harm to the impoverished country.

“Although we have increased the capacity in universities to enroll more students, yet there are not enough seats, in particular at the master’s and PhD levels,” she said.

She expressed hope that implementation of the MoU would lead to progress of Afghanistan’s educational system.

Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli had said last month that 17,000 Afghan students are studying in Iranian universities. Further, 360,000 students are attending schools in Iran.