Zimbabwe: Doctors to perform first heart surgery since 2003

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HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) — A surgeon says doctors will perform open heart surgery in Zimbabwe for the first time in over a decade.

 Deputy Minister of Health and Child Care Adrian Musiiwa on Thursday unveiled a $300,000 heart and lung machine bought in Ireland.

Cardiothoracic surgeon David Chimuka said 10 children with congenital heart defects will be the first patients in early February. Surgeons are now also able to perform lung and kidney transplants.

Health and Child Care Deputy Minister Aldrin Musiiwa (second from left) commissions open heart surgery equipment while Sub Sahara Africa Structural Heart Manager Sihe Mlambo, cardiovascular specialist (left) explains how the machine works. Looking on are officials from Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals. — Picture by Memory Mangombe

Health and Child Care Deputy Minister Aldrin Musiiwa (second from left) commissions open heart surgery equipment while Sub Sahara Africa Structural Heart Manager Sihe Mlambo, cardiovascular specialist (left) explains how the machine works. Looking on are officials from Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals. — Picture by Memory Mangombe

Chimuka, who will lead the surgeries, said up to 150 people will undergo surgery this year from a waiting list that includes over 400 children and adults.

The surgeon said more than half of patients awaiting surgery have already died.

The last heart surgery in Zimbabwe took place in 2003 before the health care system collapsed due to economic problems.

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