Seven patients with heart problems have been operated on at Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals following the official resumption of open heart surgery in Zimbabwe last Thursday.
Health and Child Care Minister Dr David Parirenyatwa, who described the programme earlier as a “new beginning”, said the operations done so far were successful.
“The surgery is very delicate and the first 24 hours after surgery are very crucial. I am very happy to see all the patients operated on in a stable condition,” said Dr Parirenyatwa.
Although Parirenyatwa Hospital authorities refused to give The Herald permission to get more details on the programme, inside sources said the surgeons could miss their target owing to a shortage of medicines.
“They have so far done seven cases and might do not more than 10 cases by Friday due to shortage of medicines,” said the source.
The team had scheduled to operate on 17 patients with various heart conditions between the ages of one to 30 years, up from the initially planned 10 patients.
The hospital received equipment worth $300 000 on a loan basis from a South African medical suppliers healthcare organisation, Medtronic last month.
Availability of the equipment at the country’s major referral health institution is expected to see at least 150 patients operated on every year.
Under the agreement, the machine will be handed over permanently to the institution after five years.
With the assistance of three professors and seven nurses from South Korea, who came into the country last week, Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals is targeting to operate on, 17 patients by Friday February 19.
Open heart surgery began at the hospital in 1995 and stopped in 2003 due to financial constraints.
Since then, Zimbabweans suffering from heart ailments required not less than $30 000 to go to South Africa or India for theatre.
Leading cardiologist Dr David Chimuka said the surgery could cost between $4 000 and $6 000 if done locally.
He said there were over 400 people with different heart problems waiting to undergo surgery.
The landmark separation of siamese twins at Harare Central Hospital in 2014 demonstrated that the country had highly skilled manpower, and there is no doubt that all open heart surgeries would be a success.
Chitungwiza Central Hospital is also planning to start kidney transplants, another milestone for the country’s health sector.