SAMJ: South African Medical Journal
On-line version ISSN 2078-5135
Print version ISSN 0256-9574
LALA, S G; BRITZ, R; BOTHA, J and LOVELAND, J. Paediatric liver transplantation for children treated at public health facilities in South Africa: Time for change. SAMJ, S. Afr. med. j. [online]. 2014, vol.104, n.11, pp.830-832. ISSN 2078-5135. http://dx.doi.org/10.7196/SAMJ.8624.
Paediatric liver transplantation (PLT) is the only therapeutic option for many children with end-stage chronic liver disease or irreversible fulminant hepatic failure, and is routinely considered as a therapy by paediatric gastroenterologists and surgeons working in developed countries. In South Africa (SA), a PLT programme has been available at Red Cross War Memorial Children's Hospital in Cape Town since November 1991, and another has rapidly developed at the Wits Donald Gordon Medical Centre in Johannesburg over the past decade. However, for most children with progressive chronic liver disease who are reliant on the services provided at state facilities in SA, PLT is not an option because of a lack of resources in a mismanaged public health system. This article briefly outlines the services offered at Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital - which is typical of state facilities in SA - and proposes that resources be allocated to establish an innovative, nationally funded centre that would enable greater numbers of children access to a PLT programme.