Zimbabwe in medical breakthrough: Conjoined twins separated: Only Zim surgeons involved
ZIMBABWE has broken new ground in its medical history by successfully performing the first major operation on Siamese twins born in April, with a team of 50 having worked on the eight-hour delicate procedure at Harare Children’s Hospital
Born on April 22 this year to a Murehwa couple, the twin boys christened Kupakwashe and Tapiwanashe, were joined from the lower chest to the upper abdomen and shared a liver.
The most delicate part of the operation was on the liver, which had to be cut into two to ensure that both boys were left with something, although a liver can grow back if a part of it is removed.
Speaking after visiting the boys who are recuperating in the Intensive Care Unit, Health and Child Care Deputy Minister Dr Paul Chimedza said the procedure was testimony to the quality of health professionals in the country.
He said the successful operation signified how quick the country’s public health system was recovering.
Zimbabwe health sector was affected by brain-drain and funding constraints over the past 14 years as the West’s illegal economic sanctions regime constrained Government’s capacity to fund the sector.
“This (the historic op) is something that the nation should sit and take note of, that our professionals can stand head-to-head with other professionals across the world and do exactly what they can do,” Dr Chimedza said.
“What we probably need to do is to give the professionals the environment to do their work, the tools of the trade, and to support them in whichever way we can.”
Dr Chimedza said Government would, with its little resources, continue to ensure that the environment was enabling for the professionals to effectively use their skills.
“We have Zimbabweans across the world who are doing big things in Canada, United States or Great Britain, but it is another thing when we do things here and especially at Harare Hospital,” he said. “It is commendable that we are doing things here.”
One of the paediatric surgeons who took part in the critical surgical separation, Dr Bothwell Mbuvayesango, attributed the success of the procedure to teamwork.
“We needed everybody for us to be able to separate the babies properly,” he said. “We also needed a lot of planning because it is not an everyday occurrence, there are very few incidents in the world where siamese twins are separated.
“This was an all inclusive Zimbabwean team of doctors. We did not get any help from any other doctors from outside the country and the success is because we managed to plan and work together.”
Source: Nehanda Radio