Doctors conduct first pacemaker installation surgery in Zanzibar

Thursday June 23 2022
By The East African

A team of surgeons from Zanzibar and Norway have installed pacemakers into five locals suffering from heart ailments – the first kind of surgery conducted in the island.

The doctors performed the surgeries at Mnazi Mmoja Referral Hospital on June 15 and 16, with the patients discharged from hospital on June 21, hospital executive director Msafiri Marijani said.

Dr Marijani said the pacemakers will help the patients’ hearts beat at the normal pace.

Most of the beneficiaries were over 50 years of age, with the youngest being 47 years and the oldest 78.

For the surgeries, three doctors, three nurses, one x-ray technician and one anaesthesia expert from Zanzibar teamed up with 10 Norwegian doctors and six nurses from Norway.

While this was the first time that Zanzibar was conducting surgeries to install pacemakers, Tanzania mainland had its inaugural surgery in 2013 with a patient receiving a pacemaker at the Jakaya Kikwete Cardiac Institute (JKCI) in Dar es Salaam, Dr Marijani said.


“Pacemaker is a mini surgical operation targeting a heart for patients with heartbeat defects which involves an installation of a battery at the chest,” he explained.

The medic said that every year about 500 patients from the archipelago go abroad to seek medical treatment that is not available locally. Thirty-six percent of these patients seek treatment for heart disorders, he added.

The cost of the surgery ranges between Sh12 million ($5,141) and Sh30 million ($12,853) depending on the type of pacemaker to be inserted, the doctor said.

It is projected that the construction of a hospital wing meant for surgeries will be completed in 2024, and it is fully equipped, Zanzibar will offer pacemaker installation services in the region