Home » Human Rights » Siamese Twins Separated in Historic Op At Harare Hospital

A LOCAL team of paediatric surgeons, doctors and nurses has written its own piece of history after successfully separating a pair twins born two months ago joined through their lower chests and abdomen.

The twins – who were joined from the lower chest to the upper abdomen and shared a liver – were born on April 22 this year to a Murehwa couple. They were separated in an eight-hour operation which also involved dividing their shared liver in two.

Newzimbabwe.com was part of a group of journalists invited to Harare Children’s Hospital to see the twins, who were still recovering from the eight-hour surgical operation, performed early this month.

Briefing journalists just after the brief visit, team leader and surgeon Bothwell Mbuwayesango said this was the first such medical operation in the country’s medical history.

“We did not get any help from outside the country, and I would like to thank everyone involved, from specialists to cleaners and I want to tell the nation that this work was done by Zimbabweans and no individual can claim success as this was a team work,” Mbuwayesango said.

“The operation was successful and the kids are now in the ICU, they look happy and their breathing is fine and they look g.”

The twins have since been named Tapuwanashe and Kupakwashe Chitiyo.

Harare hospital theatre matron Catherine Charumbira also praised the team and said it was through God’s grace they have also managed to perform the historical operation.

Parents of the twins, who had refused to grant interviews to the media when their co-joined twins were born, arguing they never found any benefit from being splashed in the media, were on cloud nine.

Agnes Mongoro, mother to the twins, recounted her experience upon discovering she had delivered co-joined children.

“It was difficult at first but after counselling and information that there have been such cases in the country, takangozozviisa mumaoko aMwari,” she said.

Her husband, Moses Chitiyo – a fruit and vegetable vendor – added: “Zvinhu zvanga zvakaoma pandakatanga kunzwa shoko, when your wife goes into labour, you would be expecting normal babies.

“But from what I had seen in newspapers and what I saw when I got there, our babies looked better.”

Health and child care deputy minister Paul Chimedza commended staff at the hospital for the successful operation.

“This (the historic op) is something that the nation should sit and take note of, that our professionals can stand head-to-head with other professionals across the world and do exactly what they can do,” said the minister.

“We have Zimbabweans across the world who are doing big things in Canada, United States or Great Britain, but it is another thing when we do things here and especially at Harare Hospital. It is commendable that we are doing things here.

“What we probably need to do is to give the professionals the environment to do their work, the tools of the trade, and to support them in whichever way we can.”

Since independence, Zimbabwe has experienced not more than five cases of co-joined twins.

In the cases, one was referred to medical institutions abroad and on two occasions, the babies died before going into theatre, with the one ‘minor” surgery being successful.

According to local medical history books, in 2009 Siamese twins were born at Bulawayo Mpilo Hspital but died a few days later, and at the beginning of this year, the same thing happened in Kadoma just a few after the twins’ birth.

Resource constraints have always been the reasons proffered for the failed cases, and only government’s intervention through drugs and related requirements saved the latest pair.

Source : New Zimbabwe