35 patients to undergo free surgery

Sunday January 10 2016

At least 35 women and children will undergo

At least 35 women and children will undergo free reconstructive surgery during a three-day clinical camp at the Aga Khan Hospital (AKH) in Dar es Salaam starting from today. 

By Saumu Mwalimu

Dar es Salaam. At least 35 women and children will undergo free reconstructive surgery during a three-day clinical camp at the Aga Khan Hospital (AKH) in Dar es Salaam starting from today.

The surgery, which usually costs about Sh150,000 to Sh2 million in major public hospitals, including Muhimbili National Hospital (MNH), targets ordinary Tanzanians.

Briefing reporters at the camp yesterday, AKH regional chief executive officer Sulaiman Shahabuddin said the surgery would involve people with various disabilities caused by fire accidents, who failed to afford reconstructive surgery when they were treated.

He said more than Sh100 million funded by various sponsors would be spent on surgery to be performed by experts from MNH, AKH and other facilities in Kenya and the US.

“We hope that these people get self-confidence and will be able to resume their activities that were no longer able to since they were affected,” he said. A MNH plastic surgery specialist, Mr Edwin Mrema, urged those in need of reconstructive surgery to come forward.

He said many Tanzanians were still unaware of the service and continued living with disabilities that could be reconstructed.

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He said MNH had a number of plastic surgeons and members of the public should come out and use the service provided at fair prices depending on the type of surgery.

Some of the patients told this paper about the suffering they had been enduring after accidents and commended MNH and Aga Khan for making the service accessible to members of the public.

Ms Hadija Shaban ,35, from Mbagala, who has lost her arm, eye and ear was anxiously waiting for the surgery so that she could resume her usual activities, which she was no longer able to do after she was involved in a fire accident in 2011. She remembers how a kerosene stove shuttered her dreams and she was subsequently left with her husband.

“All I want is the ability to perform my regular activities. I cannot wash, cook or do any other activities. This deformity has caused me to turn into a beggar,” said she said.

Whereas Upendo Burton ,5, almost died after she fell on a cooker in 2014. She told this reporter she couldn’t wait to go back to Mbeya and play with her friends again.

According to her mother, Ms Irene Burton, her daughter fell on the fire when no one saw her because she fainted after she fell until the smell of meat covered their house and they went for her rescue.

“She was treated for sometime, but she ended up like this…she has no ear. Her neck and shoulders have come together…she even cannot walk properly. I hope after surgery she will improve…Upendo was a cheerful child, but the accident she no longer is,” she said.