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Ahmed receives a much-needed kidney after almost 12 years

The treatment Ahmed has received at the Renal Unit at NMCH has been life-changing. As it turns out, his parents love the environment just as much as he does

Ahmed Ahmedullah is an introverted thirteen-year-old boy from Johannesburg, South Africa.

When Ahmed was only one-and-a-half-years-old his entire body began to swell and he was admitted to Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital (CMJAH). Following a number of blood tests, his doctors discovered that he had developed nephrotic syndrome which is a set of symptoms that signalled to his doctors that Ahmed’s kidneys were damaged. For approximately twelve years, his doctors tried everything possible to restore Ahmed’s health.

In January 2017, Ahmed and his family were informed that his kidneys were failing and it was then that he was transferred to Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital (NMCH) while also still seeing his doctors at CMJAH. In the course of the year, Ahmed’s family learned that his kidneys had completely stopped functioning and he was subsequently put on dialysis. After six months of dialysis, Ahmed was fortunate enough to receive a kidney transplant in 2018, just less than two months after being placed on the donor list. After his successful surgery, Ahmed was formally transferred to NMCH for post-transplant observation and treatment.   

Reflecting on their experience at NMCH, Ahmed’s mother says, “The doctors have looked after us very nicely and the truth is we have a very good relationship and understanding with our doctors and nurses”. Ahmed’s mother says what she loves the most about the hospital is the atmosphere. She says that when walking into the facility one does not even feel as if they have walked into a hospital until they walk into the wards. She adds that, for people like herself who cannot afford to take their children to a private hospital, NMCH “is like heaven for us. This hospital is like paradise.”

When thinking about his first time at NMCH, Ahmed notes, “It was really fun when I walked in to see the hospital. It was so colourful. I thought, ‘Wow! Is this a hotel or a hospital?’ It was really amazing to see that they took so much care into making it look nice for the children”. Similarly, Ahmed’s father expresses just how much he loves how colourful the hospital is and how child-friendly the environment is. “If you are happy, you heal better. You get better quickly because you’re in a happy environment,” he says.

Though Ahmed still comes to the hospital at least once a month, his parents are in high spirits regarding the improvements in his health as well as the kind of care that is given to Ahmed by his doctors and nurses.