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Tanzanian medics to participate in conjoined twins operation in Saudi

TANZANIAN medical experts are expected to participate in a special operation to separate conjoined twins—Maryness and Anisia—who were airlifted to Saudi Arabia for the procedure last July.

The eight-month twins were born at St Thereza Omukajunguti Health Centre in Kagera region’s Misenyi District on January 29, 2018 and brought at the Muhimbili National Hospital (MNH) at the age of two weeks.

After undergoing medical screening, MNH experts communicated with their Saudi Arabia counterparts who advised that the procedure be conducted in the Kingdom.

The twins and their mother, Jonesia Jovitus were accompanied by a pediatric surgeon and the nurse who was taking care of the infants at MNH to the Kingdom for medical treatment on July 8, 2018. The Saudi Arabia government has agreed to foot the medical bill for the twins’ separation.

MNH Paediatric Surgeon, Dr Zaitun Bokhary, who accompanied the twins to Saud Arabia, told the ‘Daily News’ that the babies were currently admitted at the King Abdullah Specialised Hospital in Riyadh.

She said the pair has undergone intensive medical checkups and tests and the medical experts at the hospital were confident of conducting the successful separation procedure. Dr Bokhary said the Saudi Arabia’s medical facility is specialised and experienced in conducting the surgeries and it has so far carried out 46 successful surgeries.

Dr Bokhary noted that the team of medical experts from Tanzania mainly paediatric surgeons were also expected to participate in the separation procedure later this year. 

She said that after arriving at the hospital the babies were admitted and subjected to intensive medical checkups and tests for the medics to devise the operation plan.

“The medical experts at the hospital repeated all the medical checkups and tests that were conducted in Tanzania, including CT-Scan, blood test, ultra sound, nuclear imaging and contrast studies,” said Dr Bokhary.

She said apart from undergoing the intensive medical checkups, the team of medical doctors—pediatric orthopaedic surgeons, plastic surgeons, infectionists and paediatricians—who will conduct the separation procedure visited the babies separately.

“After the babies underwent intensive screening, the doctors were confident that successful surgery could be conducted and therefore started planning for the separation procedure,” noted Dr Bokhary.

She said that the twins have already undergone minor surgical procedure, tissue expander, as preparations for the major surgery. The procedure enables the body to “grow” extra skin for use in reconstructing almost any part of the body. 

“This procedure takes between two and three months therefore the babies may undergo the major operation in the next two months,” Dr Bokhary noted.

Dr Bokhary said that the health of the twins was improving and they have been discharged from the Intensive Care Unit (ICU).

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Author: LYDIA SHEKIGHENDA

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