The Herald (Harare)

10 July 2014

Zimbabwe: History-Making Doctors Hailed

Photo: The Herald
This collage shows Tapiwanashe and Kupakashwe before they were separated through a delicate procedure at Harare Children's Hospital and the pair recuperating in their incubators after the operation.

Zimbabweans have commended the team of 15 surgeons, 10 anaesthetists, nurses and their support staff who performed the historic and delicate operation to separate conjoined twin boys last Tuesday at Harare Children's Hospital. Many described the health professionals as "courageous" and "committed" considering poor working conditions and low remuneration for the cadres in the public health sector.

A reader who identified himself as Mr Tafa Mutekwe of Harare, said the medical milestone was worth celebrating as it would make Zimbabweans hold their heads high among other professionals throughout the world.

"We are proud of this medical team and it demonstrated its will to achieve despite the great odds against success such as poor working conditions, an underfunded health delivery system and inadequate equipment," said Mr Mutekwe.

He said the decision by the team to save the babies at no cost was clear indication that most local professionals were not profit seeking.

"Our medics' commitment to serve overrode the profit motive. God bless you all and speedy recovery to the infants," he said.

Mrs Sarudzai Changara of Chitungwiza said it was amazing that Zimbabweans performed some operations they used to see on television only.

"We want to thank the education policy of Zanu-PF since independence that has helped us to create such professionals. We implore Government to ensure that these people do not leave this country," she said.

Another reader only identified as Maminimi described the success as testimony for better things to come for the country.

"Well done to the Zimbabwean doctors for defying the odds and doing a great job. This must be testimony that Zimbabwe is destined for better things in the future. Quite a relief for the parents and everyone involved. I am totally impressed," he said.

Others interviewed urged Government to put in place a supportive environment for local surgeons to exhibit their skills in a bid to limit the number of patients seeking treatment in other countries.

"Gone are the days of going to South Africa, India or China. This has shown that with appropriate and adequate resources, Zimbabwe can easily be the referral country in terms of medical interventions," said Mr Rungano Kufakunesu of Harare.

He said with such investments by Government, local surgeons could end up performing other major operations such as kidney and heart transplants.

Other readers also commended Harare Hospital for providing an enabling environment for the professionals to conduct the surgery successfully.

"To Harare Hospital (PaGomo) you have always been our flagship hospital and a strong brand. With adequate resources, you can stand shoulder to shoulder with any hospitals in the world."

The twins' father, Mr Moses Chitigo, also commended the team for its courageous act.

"Our appreciation goes to the team and the hospital for saving our babies. They also kept us confident that it shall be well and surely it is well," said Mr Chitigo.

Born on April 22 at Murehwa District Hospital, Kupakwashe and Tapiwanashe were joined from the lower chest and upper abdomen and shared a liver.

With assistance from the donor community and other well-wishers a wholly Zimbabwean team managed to separate the twins.

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InFocus

Zimbabwe Surgeons Separate Conjoined Twins

This collage shows Tapiwanashe and Kupakashwe before they were separated through a delicate procedure at Harare Children's Hospital and the pair recuperating in their incubators after the operation.

Zimbabwe has broken new ground in its medical history by successfully performing the first major operation on conjoined twins born in April, with a team of 50 having worked on the ... Read more »