45kg fatty cell removed from woman's stomach

HARARE - Chitungwiza General Hospital doctors completed surgery to remove fatty cells weighing 45,5 kilogrammes from a Norton woman’s stomach yesterday.

The surgery was performed by three doctors headed by the clinical director Edward Tadros, two nurses and two anaesthetists.

The surgeon who removed the fatty cells said the growth was attached to 37-year-old Josephine Chavunduka’s internal organs, including the walls of her stomach.

The surgery alone took three hours, but it went well. Without this surgery, that tumour would have continued to grow.

Chavunduka, a member of the Johane Masowe weChishanu church, said she was thankful and relieved. Her 13-year-old daughter Tsitsi said she was overwhelmed and thankful. She cried tears of joy immediately after doctors successfully removed the giant fatty cells from her mother’s belly.

For four years, Chavunduka faced difficulties finding a doctor willing to remove the large benign tumour since she did not have health insurance. Although she lost her navel to the condition, Chavunduka together with her daughter are grateful that the operation was succesful.

“I could not do anything,” the Norton widow said.

“Tsitsi would always wash my panties and clean me up every time. I did not have money to pay for the procedure. I just believed God was going to heal me.”

Tadros said economic difficulties have rendered thousands of women powerless to fight gynecological diseases.

“Big operations (such as this one) cost much money,” Tadros said. “That is why she was going around with it for all those years. Thanks to (hospital chief executive officer Obadiah) Moyo who always is ready to offer free surgery to these women.”  According to Tadros, such procedures cost around $6 000. The hospital has performed surgery on several women with similar conditions but Chavunduka’s abdominal mass is the biggest so far.

“The hospital is booked two months in advance as we speak," Tadros said. “We can only perform one such surgery per week because it takes time, labour and preparation. To be frank, there are many cases but the surgeons are few.”

Johane Masowe member Joel Mureru said the operation was an example to other followers of the religion that professional medical help was important.

“It was my desire to see her walking,” he said. “The spirit told me he would get a doctor to save her because there are some diseases which need spiritual interventions while some require doctors.”


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