All smiles for women, children after removal of deformities

14Aug 2019
Aisia Rweyemamu
Dar es Salaam
The Guardian
All smiles for women, children after removal of deformities

SOME 199 women and children with deformities resulting from violence, burns and accidents have received free plastic and reconstructive surgery in a collaborative initiative with surgeons from the United States, Canada and the European Union.

Dubbed the Reconstructive Women and Children Programme, it is a collaborative effort between the Agha Khan hospital Dar es Salaam (AKHD), Muhimbili National Hospital (MNH) and Reconstructing Women International.

The programme was initiated in January 2016 with surgeons from the US, Canada and parts of Europe working closely with Tanzanian medical professionals.

Speaking at a press conference in Dar es Salaam yesterday, Dr Atlar Ali, head of surgery at Aga Khan Hospital said reconstructive surgeries have shown to significantly improve the quality of life for those struggling with stigma and disability.

“The collaboration is happy in strengthening this impactful partnership that will put back a smile on the faces of these community members,” he stated.

Dr. Ali noted that the collaboration also aims at sharing and enhancing surgical expertise for addressing the medical need of plastic and reconstructive surgery across Tanzania and the East Africa region.

Speaking at the event, Olayce Lotha, head of marketing and communication at the hospital said that since it was initiated in 2016 a total of 199 surgeries have been performed at no cost to patients.

Lotha told the media that the surgeries help with restoration of physical function and appearance of women and children who had been marginalized by society, helping them to be reproductive members of their families and the society.

On Sunday this week the hospitals have started a new phase of surgeries in which 56 women and children will benefit, with the estimated cost of this year’s program being put at around 285.6m/-.

“We are all proud to help communities in need and develop relationships with promising quality care and treatment during and after the duration of the camp,” Lotha said.

For his part, Dr. Ibrahim Msengi, the founder of Sadaka Network called on other stakeholders to contribute and cover the medical costs  because the women and children benefit ona free basis from admissions , medication, pain management, transport and accommodation.

The program is being reached out to Tanzanians in Dar es Salaam and beyond, raising awareness for eligible beneficiaries targeted in the project though patient access and welfare initiative, he specified.

Later in November, the network expects to launch phase six of the program where another group of 50 women and children will benefit. The international plastic surgeons team will join with local surgeons to perform collaborative plastic and reconstructive surgeries, he added.