A kidney donated from an Israeli woman was flown on a charter flight from Tel Aviv to the United Arab Emirates in a historic organ transplant exchange.
Shani Markowitz Manshar, 39, had her kidney removed at the Sheba Medical Center before being loaded into a chilled ice-filled box for the three-and-a-half-hour journey to Abu Dhabi, the UAE’s capital.
As part a wider organ donation program between the two countries, Manshar’s mother will now also receive a transplant from a donor in the UAE.
She’ll be admitted to Sheba Medical Center later this week to receive a healthy organ from a relative of the kidney donor who helped the anonymous UAE patient.
Professor Eytan Mor, head of transplant center in Sheba Medical center – Israel’s largest hospital, said on Wednesday that the surgery was a success and would open the door for more life-saving organ donations in both countries.
“Today is the start of a wonderful collaboration with our colleagues from the Emirates and Abu Dhabi,” he said.
“We discussed about this potential collaboration in the field of organ transplantation six months ago with a representative from the Ministry of Health who came to see us here in Tel Aviv.”
“Within six months we have fulfilled the first organ exchange between Israel and Abu Dhabi.”
“The kidney that we harvested has been shipped to Abu Dhabi.”
“I believe that this will pave the way for future collaboration between our countries in other areas of medicine.”
The exchange is part of a wider organ donation scheme that will be launched in the coming months between the two countries.
Sheba Medical Center, the Department of Health Abu Dhabi, and the Dubai Health Authority have inked an agreement to promote medical tourism between Israel and the UAE.
Under that agreement, Sheba will offer treatment to 300 patients from the UAE’s security forces and a training program for Emirati medics.
Multiple agreements have been struck in the domains of health, aviation, tourism, food security, agriculture, and defense since the signing of the Abraham Accords on September 15, 2017 by the administration of then-US President Donald Trump.
Earlier this month the UAE officially opened the Gulf’s first embassy in Tel Aviv in a flag-raising ceremony in what Israeli President Isaac Herzog called “an important milestone in our journey towards the future, peace prosperity and security” for the Middle East.
Last month Israel’s new foreign minister Yair Lapid also inaugurated its embassy in the UAE during a two-day trip to the country.
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