‘Keyhole’ surgery available locally, affordable – experts

In a bid to minimise treatment costs, Tanzanians have been urged to seek laparoscopic surgery locally as there are already specialists providing the service. Laparoscropy also known as minimally invasive surgery (MIS), bandaid or keyhole surgery is a modern technique in which operations in the abdomen are performed through small incisions (usually 0.5–1.5 cm) as opposed to the larger incisions needed in laparotomy.

Dr Muganyizi Kairuki the Kairuki Hospital Deputy Director General and Consultant General – Surgery told The Guardian in an exclusive interview that they have organised a live and interactive workshop on laparoscopy training for specialists, doctors and medicine students to create awareness to stakeholders as well as the general public.

Kairuki noted that several hospitals in the country have the ability to carry out laparoscopy surgery but since people are ignorant of this important development, they end up rushing overseas where they part with a lot of money to undergo the procedure.

“It is very unfortunate that people are not aware that many hospitals can offer the service here. They end up seeking it in other countries. On realising that such a gap exists, we thought that it was wise to organise a workshop on the same,” he said.

According to the doctor, the workshop will help in popularising this crucial life saving technique, both among the medical professionals as well as the general public.

Kairuki said doctors and students will have a chance to see how such procedure is done during the workshop.

He said at least eight patients will undergo laparoscopic surgery at the Herbert Kariuki on June 8 which will be screened.
According to the official, Kariuki Hospital has to date conducted 80 such surgeries successfully.

Apart from Kariuki, Muhimbili National Hospital and Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Center (KSMC) have also the ability to carry out a similar surgery because they have equipment.

However, he noted that one of the challenges facing many facilities is lack of specialists.

According to him, laparoscopic surgery has been in existence in the country for a good 20 years now.

But he noted that it has remained unpopular due to lack of modern equipment, training and existence of a few specialists.

Explaining how the surgery is carried out, the doctor said small holes from one to five with 1 to 1.2cm are made in the human body using special tools like a pair of scissor and special cameras in the stomach.

This surgery is said to be better than the traditional one, known as laparotomy which involves larger incisions, However, the latter is deemed necessary because there are patients who are not allowed to undergo laparoscopy.

Such patients, he said, include those with shock, low blood pressure, patients with brain illnesses, heart and lung problems and pregnant women.