Namibia Economist (Windhoek)

Namibia: More ENT Surgeons Needed

German doctors Dr Juergen Lautermann and Dr Goetz Lehnardt are back in the country for an ear camp where they performed middle ear operations in the North of Namibia.

The ear camp which took place from 1 to5 October is the sixth camp since 2003 with the first three camps having taken place in Oshakati and the following two in 2008 and 2010 in Rundu.

Lehnerdt expressed his concern on the shortage of Ear, Nose and Throat surgeons in the country. "Most of the specialists are based in Windhoek, there is a need for more ENT specialists in the northern parts of Namibia", he said.

Dubbed 'Operation Omakutsi, being the Oshiwambo word for ears the project aims to improve or even restore the hearing of patients who suffer from chronic middle ear infections. Also known as ' running ears', chronic middle ear infection damages the ear drums and the middle ear bones to such an extent that only surgery will help.

This year's ear camp was again a major success with the help of German stakeholders, medical companies Zeiss, Storz and Genmed, Air Namibia, Transworld Cargo, Oshakati Country Hotel and German individuals who set up an account where they donate funds to aid with the project. With the help of Namibian doctor, Head of the ENT department at Oshakati Intermediate Hospital, Dr Ailly Imbangu, the two doctors have operated on 37 patients in the past week.

The doctors give their expertise for free and use part of their annual leave to come and perform the operations. Lehnherdt also said the doctors will visit the University of Namibia's School of Medicine and motivate the future medical personnel to specialise in the field of ENT surgery. They also hope to train local doctors to perform the complicated operations.

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