Zimbabwean surgeons will separate conjoined twins born two months ago as soon as they have raised the urgent funds to buy equipment at Sally Mugabe Central Hospital.
Government, through the Ministry of Health and Child Care has already directed the hospital to set aside a budget and has promised backing.
The operation will be the second such in Zimbabwe, but the hospital urgently needs to buy more equipment as the surgery should be done by Monday next week.
The conjoined twins were born at the hospital and their parents are smallholder farmers from Banket. The twin girls are conjoined from the abdomen and part of their pelvis.
Sally Mugabe Central Hospital paediatric surgeon Dr Kudzai Munanzvi yesterday said the girls had very high chances of survival.
“These types of operations are very difficult and they take long time to be completed, but we are hoping that the operation will be successful,” said Dr Munanzvi.
Hospital clinical director Dr Hopewell Mungani said the Health Ministry had pledged support.
“We will soon conduct a meeting with all relevant authorities to set the appropriate date and full amount required for the operation,” he said.
The medical team is still planning and figures are not yet known. Zimbabwe has broken new ground in its medical history by successfully performing the first major operation on conjoined twins born in April 2014, with a team of 50 having worked on the eight-hour procedure at the same hospital.
The twin boys christened Kupakwashe and Tapiwanashe, were joined from the lower chest to the upper abdomen and shared a liver. The successful separation was conducted on July 1, 2014 by a team of local doctors led by specialists from the University of Zimbabwe’s College of Health Sciences.
Zimbabwe has had documented cases of conjoined twins since independence and only one was referred outside the country, while in two instances the babies died before surgery.
In 2005, conjoined Zimbabwean twins were successfully separated in Canada.
In 2009, a Tsholotsho woman gave birth to conjoined twins, but they died a few days after birth when Mpilo Hospital failed to secure enough human resources and funding to operate them.