An agreement between Seha and the AKPD will see the organisations working closely to build a paired kidney donation programme in the UAE. Image Credit: For illustrative purposes only.

Abu Dhabi: Patients awaiting kidney transplants in the UAE will now have a better chance at finding their organ matches following an agreement signed by Abu Dhabi emirate’s public health provider, the Abu Dhabi Health Services Company (Seha).

In a statement, Seha announced that it has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Alliance for Paired Kidney Donation (APKD), a non-profit organisation based in the United States that facilitates paired kidney donations.

Seha officials and APKD representatives meet to discuss the new paired kidney exchange programme. Image Credit: Supplied

Paired exchanges

Paired kidney exchanges, also known as kidney swaps, see living kidney donors who are incompatible with their recipients, usually a family member, match with another person on the waitlist. The award-winning algorithm allows two or more live donor transplants to occur by matching donor-recipient pairs or groups.

The strategic agreement between Seha and the AKPD will see the organisations working closely to build a paired kidney donation programme in the UAE, and to facilitate transplant opportunities for patients with kidney failure to make the right kidney match in the UAE or abroad.

“A fundamental element of our constant growth and development as Seha is building fruitful partnerships and relationships with global pioneers. Collaborating with APKD strengthens our position to significantly add to the UAE’s healthcare ecosystem, and will introduce ample opportunities for us to transform kidney care locally, regionally and internationally,” said Dr Tarek Fathey, group chief executive officer at Seha.


As part of the new agreement, Seha Kidney Care (SKC) – part of the provider’s network and Abu Dhabi’s go-to centre for kidney disease and treatment – will engage in health information technology systems training, including Kidney Match, APKD’s paired organ exchange software. SKC will also have a chance to develop educational and scientific research papers and studies, and see the exchange of medical, technical, and administrative experience.

“The key to the success of paired kidney donations is collaboration, locally and internationally. Thankfully, in the UAE, we boast a robust foundation of healthcare stakeholders and partners who will be integral in the build and roll-out of such a program. Building on our support, we are pleased to formalise a long-term partnership with APKD – by strengthening our relationship, we are unlocking pathways into countries across the world that will facilitate life-saving solutions for kidney disease patients across the globe, as well as build and bolster a paired kidney program here in the UAE that will benefit our citizens and residents,” said Dr Ali Al Obaidli, chief medical officer at the SKC, and chairman of the UAE National Transplant Committee.

Powerful system

The APKD’s powerful matching platform is powered by the Nobel prize-winning algorithm of Dr. Alvin Roth. It works with governments and hospitals around the world to match living kidney donors with patients in need within and across borders.

On a recent visit to the UAE, Dr Roth, who advocates leveraging economic theories to find tangible solutions to societal problems, said the UAE will benefit from a paired kidney exchange programme.

“Kidney disease is a global problem that requires a global solution. The UAE, with its diverse population and solid healthcare infrastructure, is well positioned to lead the charge. This recent partnership with APKD will undoubtedly save thousands of patients requiring kidney transplantation, in light of the current organ shortage,” he said.

“The UAE’s progressive leadership and its extraordinary commitment to the care of the country’s population, coupled with our mission to secure living kidney transplants for every patient in need across the globe, will enable us to really make a difference and help many more patients. We are thrilled to partner with the UAE’s largest healthcare network in efforts to elevate the country’s infrastructure to not only heal its residents, but to contribute to the global healthcare landscape in terms of cross-country paired donations and transplants and research,” said Dr Michael Rees, APKD chief executive officer.