By Tapiwa Mutizamhepo
Surgeons at Parirenyatwa Hospital have conducted a world record operation after successfully removing a 12,3kg 11-year-old kidney cyst from a patient, a feat that speaks volumes of the country’s medical expertise and services.
The cyst becomes the largest to be removed in the world, with the previous record in Japan where a similar one weighing 11,5kg was removed.
The complicated surgical procedure was conducted by a team of local doctors led by consultant urologist Dr Shingirai Meki, who is also a lecturer at the University of Zimbabwe’s College of Health Sciences.
If conducted outside the country, the procedure costs upwards of US$11 000, but it was performed for just $2 000.
Addressing members of the media at Parirenyatwa Hospital yesterday, the institution’s clinical director, Dr Aspect Maunganidze, urged Zimbabweans to have faith in the country’s public health delivery system, saying it had competent medical professionals that are able to carry out most of the services sourced externally.
“We encourage the members of the public with various ailments to seek medical attention in our health institutions because we still have the experts who can provide such services,” he said.
The sentiments were shared by the head of the medical operating team, Mr Meki, who said with enough support, the majority of such services could be accessed locally, cutting on foreign medical tourism.
“Members of the public should be assured that most surgeries like these can be done in public hospitals,” he said.
“We are very much able to deliver quality health care to our patients in a public setting and members of the public must be assured that surgeries like these can be done locally at much affordable rates.
“Patients need to have confidence in the public health system and this is a case in point. The experts are available to do the surgeries and any patient can come into the institutions where they will get help.”
Speaking at the same occasion, the patient, Mrs Milka Gwatiringa, said she once sought services from South Africa as she doubted the efficiency of the local institutions.
She blamed the media for concentrating on negative coverage of the health delivery system, saying at times the media discourage patients from seeking help.
“I had so many fears because the media reports about our public health system,” said Mrs Gwatiringa. “I wanted to go to South Africa because the reports and the news that we sometimes hear about our public institutions leave a lot of doubt, especially when you are sick.
“After getting assurance from peers and friends and because it was expensive for me to get the services outside the country, I came to Parirenyatwa and here I am, the 11-year-old tumor has been removed.”
This is not the first time the country’s public health system has broken medical records.
In 2014 at Harare Hospital, a 50-member medical team successfully performed the first major operation to separate Siamese twins who were co-joined from the lower chest to the upper abdomen and shared a liver. The Herald