Doctors separate conjoined twins

HARARE - Doctors at Harare Central Hospital have separated two-month-old twin brothers joined from the breastbone to the pelvis and were optimistic about their chances of survival, a hospital surgeon says.

Kupakwashe and Tapiwanashe Chitiyo, born April 21 at Murewa District Hospital, were separated following an eight-hour surgery conducted on July 1, said Bothwell Mbuwayesango, a paediatric surgeon who led a team of 50 health personnel in the operation.

“They are feeding and breathing on their own,” the surgeon said.

“They are active, happy and they look strong. We still have them in the hospital and we will have them for a while just waiting for their wounds to heal. There is no one surgeon, nurse or anaesthetist who can separate Siamese twins.”

Mbuwayesango said the boys were still in intensive care as of late yesterday but the procedure had been finished.

He said the paediatric specialists, representing surgery, urology, orthopaedics, plastic surgery, anaesthesiology and radiology, were optimistic that both boys would survive.
Some 50 doctors, nurses and other staff participated in the surgery.

“We had a team of 50 plus or minus comprising  nurses, doctors, cleaners, cooks etc,” Mbuwayesango said. “We needed everybody to be able to separate them properly.

“We did not get any help from outside of the country. It needed a lot of planning because this is not an everyday occurrence. We also got some help from some donors, local donors and drug companies.”

Both boys should be able to lead relatively normal lives.

Joined at the lower chest, upper abdomen and sharing a liver but fortunately with separate biliary systems, the twin brothers were born via caesarean section in Murehwa. The boys, still in the intensive care but not on life support, kicked and made sounds during a media tour yesterday.

According to Mbuwayesango, they were ready to do surgery on every deserving case in future.

“We have had two attempts and two successes here,” he said. “If they come and we can do it, yes we will always do it.”

Kudakwashe and Tapiwanashe weighed in at 4, 4 and 3,4 kilogrammes respectively.

Catherine Charumbira, Harare Hospital theatre matron,  said everyone was humbled by the successful surgery.

“We only feel it was good and we look forward to doing other operations of this type or major ones in the future,” Charumbira said, repeatedly giving praise to God.

Paul Chimedza, Health deputy minister, showered praises on the “wholly Zimbabwean team”.

“So at Harare Hospital, its not all doom and gloom,” Chimedza said.

“As government, we are on cloud nine. We are overjoyed that our institution and our professionals have managed to do something like this. It goes to show the calibre of doctors, nurses and staff we have.

“What we need to do is perhaps give the professionals the environment to do their work professionally, the tools to do the trade and to support them in whatever way we can. We have Zimbabweans doing great things in the US, Canada, Great Britain but it’s another thing when we do things here in our own country and our own hospitals.”

Chimedza, overwhelmed with the success of the procedure, shared government’s plans to set up specialised centres.

“This is one. Big things are coming,” he said. “I was just discussing with my minister how we need to set up renal transplant units so that we don’t have our patients going to India for renal or heart transplants when we have got professionals of this calibre in this country.”

Agnes Mongoro, 25, the twin boys’ mother, was at a loss of  words.

“It was difficult at first but after counselling, takangozozviisa mumaoko aMwari. Ndirikufara (we put everything in God’s hands, I am very happy).”

Moses Chitiyo, 45, the dad who is a chef by profession but a vendor in practice, appealed to the nation for financial assistance.

Zvinhu zvakangooma pekutanga because when your wife goes into labour you will be expecting normal babies but the Lord has been sustaining us,” he said. “I have secured a proper place for the boys at some plot in Murehwa. This took us back, so a bit of capital to boost our business will take us a long way.”

The twin boys have two sisters Runako and Ropafadzo, who are aged 4 years and 21 months respectively.

The family paid homage to drug companies, churches and private clinics who helped make the surgery a success.

Comments (10)

god is great. thumb up to the whole team for the job well done? ngatiendererei mberi nekunamata vana vakure zvakanaka

niy - 9 July 2014

Great team led by a great God. These are the people we want in Zimbabwe, it will be a better place to live with such people in our midst. Mbuwayesango and your team, I pray that God help you greatly in Jesus' name I pray.

Maita Manyuka - 10 July 2014

Well done guys..We give thanks to the Almighty for leading you to a successful operation. Rambai makadaro, Mwari vachingokutungamirai mubasa renyu guru muhupenyu hwedu. We wish a speedy recovery to the little ones.

Tindo - 10 July 2014

The team is fantastic,but the government is not.Think about all the money stolen by fellow Zimbabweans and stashed in foreign lands,if it was accounted for and invested in our health institutes and having such a good and dedicated team of DR Mbuwayesango,all those who are seeking medication in foreign lands will be refered back to Zim for special treatment.Alas, the dedicated team is underpaid,work under deplorable conditions while the likes of C Dube are handsomely paying themselves and having numerouus abroad trips failing to simply improve the image of ZIFA and failing to manage a team to qualify for any major tonarment.GOD HELP ZIMBABWE

kabila - 10 July 2014

mwari vakanaka.

mukadota - 10 July 2014

Thank you Jesus. Thank you Dr Mbuvayesango and Team.

Florence Chihuri - 10 July 2014

Allelluja we have our own Chris Barnard in Zimbabwe,well done Dr Mbuvayesango and collegues.uNkulunkulu ka yangise abangabakhe.

mariyeti Mpala - 11 July 2014

This was a land mark day in the history of the country ,it has brought back national pride, but now we need to jealously guard this intellectual capital ,other countries are already planning to poach this team. Ministry of Health thumbs up great job Government and people of Zim and last but not least the almighty God Musikavanhu

Kudzai Mudede - 17 July 2014

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