JKCI heart surgery camps treat 289 patients this year

17Dec 2017
James Kandoya
Guardian On Sunday
JKCI heart surgery camps treat 289 patients this year

A total of 289 cardio-vascular patients have received treatment in the country enabling the government to save over Sh7bn that would be paid if they were to be treated overseas.

The treatment was either in the form of open chest surgery or catheterization performed jointly by the partners from various collaborating hospitals located in the five continents.

A statement from the Jakaya Kikwete Cardiac Institute (JKCI) circulated to the media yesterday said that a total of 15 camps were organised this year alone.

It further revealed that out of 289 patients, 80 children underwent open chest surgery along with 40 adults,while catheterized (not open chest) surgery was performed on on 93 children and 76 adults.

“Thanks to our partners who jointly worked with us to save the lives of our fellow Tanzanians. We have learned a lot through sharing experience,” the institute said in a summary assessment.

Detailing that experience, it said that the government spent close to 25m/- on average to treat one cardiovascular patient abroad. 

Commenting on the final heart camp stretching from December 10th to 15th at JKCI, it said that around 131 children aged one year to 14 years were diagnosed and treated.

The camps were organized by JKCI by aegis of Little Hearts, a South African based medical charity convening heart diagnosis and treatment for children worldwide, so long as there is a well equipped collaborating facility.

After setting camps starting from January, Little Hearts was bringing in doctors from  various countries who would 'camp' at JKCI for a number of days, treating patients already referred to the institute.

The final camp for this year enabled the diagnosis and treatment of  54 patients through open chest surgery and 28 catheterized, and their conditions were improving, the statement indicated.

Through fetal echocardiograph, an expectant mother was tested and diagnosed that there was a problem in the fetal heart muscles, in which case the mother was placed observation until the time of deliver.

On November 10, a senior fellow at JKCI expressed confidence in the institute’s ability to carry out complex surgical procedures.

Dr Bashiru Nyangasa, the JKCI acting director of Surgical Services said that Tanzanian surgeons were  increasingly capable of performing complex procedures but face an uphill task due to the shortage of medical equipment facing the institute.

"The problem is not lack of expertise to perform the heart surgeries. The thing is, we experience a critical shortage of medical supplies that are required to perform the surgeries," he stated, responding to a question on the way JKCI doctors collaborated with teams of surgeons from outside.

“Most of the foreign experts come with the right medical equipment and therefore we simply assist them to perform the surgeries,” he elaborated.

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