Development of Pediatric Liver Transplant Programs in Latin America through Education and Collaboration

Liver transplantation has been established as the standard of care for children with end stage liver diseases, some metabolic disorders and selective cases of liver tumors. While children in North America enjoy a high probability of surviving after receiving a liver transplant, many children in Latin America and most in the Caribbean died without having access to care, due to scarcity of liver transplant centers in the area. Few families can afford to travel and pay for this expensive therapy. In some countries, health care institutions and governments recognize the need to build successful pediatric liver transplant programs, but lack the expertise of creating that infrastructure. Members of Columbia University are part of FundaHigado America, an organization committed to providing advice, training, and education to local health care authorities and providers in pediatric liver transplantation. Our goal is to train the team in their local environment, providing onsite education and support during the few cases until the team mature and achieve independence to perform the procedure on their own. Our only request is that the transplant should be offered to any child regardless of their ability to pay and that the local social health care system guarantees access to live long immunosuppression to all children undergoing liver transplantation.

We are working with several Central American and Caribbean countries. The collaboration has been officially established with “Plaza de la Salud” in Dominican Republic, educational process has been initiated and we are planning to perform the first transplant in the Fall of 2019.


Mercedes Martinez


  • Dominican Republic
  • Guatemala (upcoming)
  • Ecuador (upcoming)
  • Peru (upcoming)

Areas of Focus

Access to Health Care