Saturday, November 25, 2017


For mommies like me... for sure you were heartbroken when you heard about the story of a mother who lost three of his sons to liver cancer.  


According to, based on WHO data published in 2014, liver disease is 14th top cause of death in the Philippines. The National Kidney and Transplant lnstitute (NKTl) data shows that in 2005, Philippine Cancer Facts and Estimates reported that  7,477 Filipinos died of liver cancer second to lung cancer (26.7%) with an estimated annual death of 15,881.

According to facts found in the DOH website, there was an estimated 5,249 cases of liver cancer in 1998, with 3,906 cases in males and 1,343 cases in females. About 4,403 deaths are expected to occur every year.

These facts don’t lie. But the sad fact is that the average medical cost of liver-related illness is expensive for the middle class Filipinos. Given the rising cost of medical and health services, and pharmaceutical products in the country as compared to other Asian countries like lndia, Taiwan and Thailand, many Filipino families seeks medical attention abroad


Kalem Asher Rubio Lizada was born on June 19, 2016 weighing 3.1 kilograms via normal delivery. His newborn screening results found out that he has “Glucose-6-Phosphate Dehydrogenase” or simply known as “G6PD Deficiency”. He was later diagnosed with "Biliary Cirrhosis",

Jermaine Briseis Belista had choledochal cyst, an illness that can by cured by operation. Unfortunately, just as she was turning 8 months old, Jermaine vomited fresh blood. The doctor immediately advised her parents that an operation is futile and that they need to prepare for liver transplant. Vomiting blood is a complication of liver cirrhosis.

Two weeks after Nathan Almajar's birth, the family noticed that Baby Nathan’s eyes were yellow and his urine were dark yellow. But his mother Mary Grace, said, paarawan ko lang. She did this everyday for one month but nothing has changed. In August 2015. Nathan again brought to the hospital because his fever is on and off again and his stool have a small amount of fresh blood

These three children have something in common:  they were plagued with liver problems that can only be solved by LIVER TRANSPLANT. They were all financially challenged to have this very expensive treatment.

Families of these three children have sought help from local and international organizations. They also did fundraising projects in the hope of raising funds for the liver transplant.


The liver is the largest internal organ. It helps the body digest food, store energy, remove toxins and clears wastes from the blood. While the liver can take some damage and has the ability to regenerate, there is no known treatment that can help the do liver all that it does when it is critically damaged. A liver transplant is the only way to address this damage.

Dr. Anupam Sibal, Group Medical Director, Apollo Hospitals Group and Senior Pediatric Gastroenterologist and Hepatologist, Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals said,  “The Apollo Transplant Program not only caters to the domestic needs, but also to patients from 44 other countries as far as Bolivia, Kenya and Saudi Arabia. We also have many patients from India’s neighbors like Nepal and Pakistan.”

“We are privileged to offer hope to babies and children from Philippines. The support structure in Philippines for families is remarkable with parents supporting each other. The support from foundations and support groups is truly exemplary. The 'pay it forward' culture is so heartwarming and I have not seen this in other countries," he added.

Dr. Sibal further added, “Liver transplantation in acute liver failure is more complex than a regular liver transplant.  Since its inception, liver transplant surgery has come a long way.  We are now able to perform transplants in high-risk cases, very small babies, and patients with difficult anatomy and patients with multi organ dysfunction.  We have also performed liver transplants in patients who do not have blood compatible donors.  It is this expertise that gives hope and happiness to patients from world over who come to Apollo Hospitals to seek respite from their ailments.”

The first successful liver transplant in India was performed at Apollo Hospitals, Delhi in November 1998.  Sanjay Kundasamy was born with a rare condition called Billary Atresia, which is seen in one in 12,000 babies. His father donated a part of his liver. Today, Sanjay is now a medical student leading a normal life. ln 2008, the youngest pediatric liver transplant was done on a 6-month old baby from Kolkata, India. Since then more than 2900 liver transplants have been performed at Apollo Hospitals, Delhi of which 235 have been in children. 


Today, there is hope from many other Filipino patients who have undergone successful liver transplants at Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals.  Within the past few months, several babies have benefitted from the hospital’s Apollo Transplant Program.  These children include the three children mentioned above. 

In photo are (L-R): General Manager of Apollo Hospitals, Mr. Raj Raina; Ms. Mary Grace Almajar and Baby Nathan; Medical Director of Apollo Hospitals, Dr. Anupam Sibal; Ms. Rebecky Rubio and Baby Kalem; and Ms. Jonalyn Belista and Baby Briseis.

Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals has the leading program in kidney and liver transplant in lndia “We are proud to have had the country’s first successful pediatrics and adult liver transplants in India and look forward to giving hope to many Filipino children faced with liver-related illnesses,” says Sibal.

The hospital has partnered with LITRO for liver Transplant Babies Philippines. The group helps their members to source out funds for the transplant through selling shirts, donations, concerts and others.


If you are a parent, you will do anything and everything for your child.  To extend his/her life. These are some of the facts I gathered from the talk:

  • 80% of liver transplants are done on adults;  20% are pediatric cases
  • the cost of operation, from harvesting of the liver from donor to transplanting to recipient, medications of both donor and recipient would cost about $33,000 or roughly Php 1.6 million. It is cheaper compared to USA ($300,000), London ($200,000), Singapore ($150,000) and Japan ($150,000)
  • cost of airfare, accommodation of family members with the patient and donor are not included in the Php 1.6 million
  • all potential transplant candidates will be required to undergo vital tests here in the Philippines. After the tests and if the local hospitals recommend transplant, then Apollo Hospital will start with the coordination

Twitter: @HospitalsApollo

No comments:

Post a Comment