Story by Abigirl Tembo, Health Editor
In a real show of patriotism, a New Zealand-based Zimbabwean gynaecologist is working with a team of local doctors to perform gynaecology surgeries using a new scar-less and less painful procedure.
This is the first time such a procedure is being conducted in the country.
Dr Elliot Mackenzie has decided to dedicate his leave days to partnering his colleagues at Sally Mugabe Central Hospital to clear their gynaecology laparoscopic backlog, ensuring direct skills transfer in the process.
“I am here on holiday and I do have a bit of time to actually come around and share my experiences with my local colleagues. I have a strong working relationship with my colleagues and an educational relationship with obstetricians and gynaecologists in Zimbabwe. I did my undergraduate training here, so I know most of the people who are working in the field. By having gone and trained overseas. I know that things are a little bit different, so I thought that it was worthwhile that I come and share,” said Dr Mackenzie.
He took the ZBC news crew through the transvaginal natural orifice transluminal endoscopic surgeries process.
“At the moment we are running a camp that is largely focusing on training, teaching and sharing on vaginal natural orifice transluminal endoscopic surgery. Surgery for hysterectomy has largely been done with open abdominal or laparoscopic, but we have found a way of doing scarless surgeries where women who have uterine problems can have their surgeries done safely through the vagina in such a way that they do not have significant pain, significant bleeding after the surgery has been done and that they can go home and recover quickly. This is the first time that it has been brought to Zimbabwe, not to say that Zimbabweans did not know about the procedure, but to date we have done 3 cases and they have gone well,” he explained.
The ZBC News crew had a chance to speak to the first two patients who underwent the surgeries.
A patient, Abigirl Chinyoka said, “When I had VIAC done, it came out that my uterus had cancer symptoms, that was in November. So, I requested for my uterus to be removed, so they called me last week and yesterday my uterus was removed. I am not feeling a lot of pain, there is no bleeding and no scar, but now I can feel that I am getting better.”
“I had a problem of endometriosis, subfertility and pelvic pain which was diagnosed in 2019 but all along I was in pain. So I was on the waiting list for a laparoscopy operation, so was called on Saturday and there was a procedure which was done on me. I would really like to thank the doctors for conducting this operation,” said another patient, Leona Chimitsunya.
The procedure, which is now being done in most first world countries, has been proved to have lower complication incidences, less post-operative pain, less blood loss, shorter hospitalisation period and a shorter healing time.