Surgeons at Zimbabwe's Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals have conducted a world-record operation after successfully removing a 12,3kg 11-year-old kidney cyst from a patient.
The cyst becomes the largest to be removed in the world, breaking a record which was previously held by Asian powerhouse, 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.
The remarkable feat was performed at a fraction of the cost that a patient would have incurred if the surgery had been conducted outside the country. If conducted outside Zimbabwe, the procedure could have cost US$11 000, but it was performed for $2 000.
The surgery happened at a time the country's health system has come under scrutiny.
Top ministers and the presidium have been blasted for seeking medical treatment abroad while failing to invest in local hospitals. Most notable is the late former President Robert Mugabe who spent almost 150 days in Singapore's Gleneagles hospital before his passing.
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.
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.
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.
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