The first person to undergo a kidney transplant in Namibia is doing well six months after the operation.
Bernhard Maswahu, 59, and his kidney donor – his 20-year-old son Muhinda Maswahu – who took the bold step to be the first donor and recipient of a transplanted kidney procedure in Namiba are leading normal and healthy lives.
“I trusted my doctors. Medipark has competent personnel, from doctors to nurses and the cleaners. That’s why when I looked at those physicians and surgeons I had no doubt. After all, I’m a believer and because of my faith I saw God himself in those doctors. They were not alone. They have the spirit of God in them,” said Bernhard Maswahu.
Six months ago, Ongwediva Medipark made history when it conducted the first kidney transplant in the country on Maswahu.
Speaking to New Era at his home yesterday, Bernhard, who is employed by the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry, said he was diagnosed with kidney failure in July 2014 and has been on dialysis ever since.
“My doctor told me that I had two options: one is to live on dialysis to prolong my life, or to get a donor for kidney transplant, which was the lasting solution.
“When I came home that day I took the phone and called all my relatives one by one, hoping that one of them would come forth, but it seems all of them were scared.
“I never thought of my son. To me he was just a child, because he was only 19 then,” said Bernard.
Muhinda Maswahu, however, kept insisting that he wanted to help his father. He offered to help three times, but Maswahu senior ignored him.
It was only after he insisted for the fourth time that the father, whose health was rapidly deteriorating, decided to consider his son’s plea and spoke to his doctor about it. The rest is history.
“Inside him there’s an angel. I love my son very much. I just don’t know what to say about him. He is my hero,” said the emotional father.
Maswahu junior on the other hand said he and his younger siblings observed their father’s health deteriorating every day.
He would go for dialysis treatment at least three times a week. There was even a time when he returned home with a cut on his arm, as doctors needed to unblock one of the tubes to the kidneys.
“One day he almost collapsed in the house. He was in and out at work. We watched his energy fading and I couldn’t take it any longer. I was ready to give him my kidney, even if he had not asked me. After all he’s my father. He gave me life,” said Muhinda.
According to the young man, he experienced no health problems after the surgery – apart from the obvious pain from the wound sustained during the operation.
He even went to the gym a week after he was operated on. And his father is now a happy man, who is looking forward to farming after his retirement next year.
Both father and son have advised families that have kidney failure sufferers not to be selfish, as one can lead a normal life with one kidney.
“We watch our loved ones suffering when we know how we can help them. And once they die we want to shed tears, but we had an opportunity to help them.
“I’m perfectly fine. I don’t feel like something was taken from me. I have the same energy and I’m happy that I helped my father,” said Muhinda proudly.