Quebec launches live kidney donor program

Health Minister Gaetan Barrette has announced the province will now launch a living kidney donation program.

The program is based on a pilot project the minister launched two years ago, with the goal of boosting the rate of living donations in Quebec, which is currently the lowest in Canada.

"We are at a rate today of 5.8 living donor transplants per million population. The Canadian average is a bit over 13," Barrette told CJAD 800's Dave Kaufman. "What we've learned in that pilot project, we believe we can get to 15 within three years and 20 within five years, and that would put us in front of everybody in Canada."

Nearly 800 people are waiting for a kidney transplant in Quebec, and Barrette also hopes the program will reduce wait times, and improve the survival rate of patients who suffer kidney failure. People undergoing kidney dialysis treatments have a roughly fifty-fifty chance of survival after five years.

Another one of the goals of the program, Barrette says, is to inform Quebecers that they can donate one kidney and still live a perfectly healthy life with the other. Moreover, the prospects for 
survival for kidney transplant recipients is higher if the kidney comes from a living donor, rather than a deceased one.