Dar es Salaam. At least 40 people, including women and children, are expected to benefit from free breast and plastic reconstructive surgeries through the Women for Women Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Project implemented by the Aga Khan Hospital in collaboration with Women for Women International and Muhimbili National Hospital (MNH).
These beneficiaries were through a two-month campaign that involved television and radio stations as well as social and print media. The group underwent free medical screening at the Aga Khan Hospital on September 16 and October 14 purposely to select patients who would take part in a phase III of plastic and reconstructive surgery project starting from November 5.
Phase II of the project brought together plastic surgeons from the United of States, Canada and Europe who collaborated with their Tanzanian counterparts where over 40 people - including women and children - with deformities due to acts of gender violence and burns benefited.
Speaking to journalists at a press conference, Aga Khan Hospital consultant general surgeon, Dr Aidan Njau, said the impactful project focused to bringing back smiles and hope mainly to women and children struggling with stigma and disability.
Dr Njau further established that minor procedure patients would be discharged on the same day of the surgery, saying other patients would be discharged after one night of staying at the hospital.
After being discharged, all patients would continue to receive post-operative consultation and wound-dressing at the clinic based on schedule that would be provided after surgeries, confirmed Dr Njau.
“We had a free health screening camp, which has been followed by free treatment for all patients undergoing various surgical procedures. The total estimated cost for this programme is $60, 000 (equivalent to Sh135, 000, 000),” he said.
For his part, MNH plastic surgeon, Dr Edwin Mrema, noted that the programme was successful in bringing together and creating a productive collaborative working environment for the three teams.
“We continue to learn more from our fellow experts. I am hoping that the phase III of the project will be as successful as the second phase,’ he said.
In addition, WomenforWomen International plastic surgeon, Dr Andrea Pusic, expressed her optimism that the reconstructive surgeries would show significant improvement for women and children struggling with stigma and deformities resulting from gender violence and burns.
“It is a huge privilege to work with local experts to perform surgeries and help communities in need. We are looking forward to performing similar procedures in the future,’ she said.
The fund to implement the programme has been generated from WomenforWomen IPRAS, Aga Khan Hospital, Dar Patients Welfare Programme as well as fundraising from a list of generous donors in the country including corporations such as Diamond Trust Bank, Serena Hotel, Jubilee Insurance Tanzania Limited and Dar Rotary Club as well as individual well-wishers.