Surgeons from US to perform surgeries on hip, knee patients

Local orthopedic specialists will benefit from knowledge and technology to be transferred from their visiting colleagues

MONDAY August 7, 2023

Hip replacement surgery can relieve pain and restore mobility, allowing patients to return to their normal activities. PHOTO | EVA HOSPITAL

By Patty Magubira

The Tranquility News Reporter, Tanzania

Over 60 orthopedic specialists from Los Angeles, California State, in western US, will pitch camp in Arusha, Tanzania, to provide surgery services free of charge.

A befitting reception awaits the specialists at Kilimanjaro International Airport where they are scheduled to land at around 2000hrs on Thursday August 10, 2023.

The programme dubbed Samia Love will also give the US specialists from Operation Walk outfit an opportunity for transferring their knowledge to their local counterparts at Arusha Lutheran Medical Centre (ALMC).

While the orthopedic specialists will offer their precious time and expertise in the programme, the US pharmaceutical and implant manufacturing firms have offered drugs and objects to be inserted into the patients’ hips and knees.

“ALMC has, in turn, offered its facility and personnel while the Tanzania government has waived taxes on equipment and drugs to be imported for the camp,” Mr Lazaro Nyalandu, the programme Coordinator and the East African country’s former Natural Resources and Tourism minister, explained.

Arusha Lutheran Medical Centre, a health-based facility, first opened its doors for service in December 2008. PHOTO | PATTY MAGUBIRA

The surgeons’ arrival is in line with Tanzania’s President Samia Suluhu Hassan’s call during her State tour to the US to extend bilateral ties between the two countries to individual and community levels.

Vice President Kamala Harris reciprocated Samia’s official visit in March this year when she assured Africa’s sole sitting female President that the US would expand its ties with Tanzania.

Health is among some of the areas in which the US Vice President said cooperation would be strengthened.

“Although the orthopedic specialists have volunteered to spend a week at ALMC offering services to as many patients as possible, the camp will be here to stay,” said  Mr Nyalandu, adding that the Tanzania Medical Devices Authority already had issued permits for relevant working gear and drugs.

After the seven-day Samia Love programme, the US orthopedic specialists will present a schedule for future camps for patients with various surgery needs from Kenya, Rwanda, DR Congo, Uganda and Somalia.

Dr Goodwill Kivuyo (Right), the Arusha Lutheran Medical Centre Acting Executive Director, addresses media practitioners on arrival of US orthopedic specialists at the hospital under Samia Love programme as the Coordinator of the programme, Mr Lazaro Nyalandu (Left), looks on. PHOTO | PATTY MAGUBIRA

The programme targets patients from poverty-stricken families, given the minimum cost of treating one patient is estimated at $30,000. A patient walks again 80 hours after the operation.

About 200 patients from across the country had registered for the service by Monday August 7, 2023, and doors are still open for those intending to benefit from it, Dr Goodwill Kivuyo, the ALMC Acting Executive Director, confirmed.

“We appreciate to get the opportunity for hosting the presidential guests. The demand is high, we’ve so far received patients’ calls from as far as Lindi, Dar es Salaam and Mwanza regions,” explained Dr Kivuyo, believing most of them would be relieved of the maladies.

Old age and accidents being major causes of patients suffering from hips and knees, Dr Kivuyo invited others in need of the service to call the ALMC Customer Care docket at +255 755 475 623.

Upon their arrival, the hospital will carry out primary diagnoses to ascertain if they are eligible for any of the surgeriesΩ
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