M a r k e t N e w s

Tanzania: Jakaya Kikwete Heart Institute Saves Millions for Nation

Posted on : Friday, 21st October 2016

 A cancer which has for years drained the country of its foreign exchange and denied thousands the chance to lead a peaceful life has at last been tamed.

The cancer, overseas heart operation, which has for a long time consumed much of the nation's foreign exchange annually, may not have been totally disabled, but its ferocity has to a large measure been checked.
"In 2015 alone overseas heart operations, most of them in India, cost the nation 4.7bn/-," explains Dr Godwin Sharau with Jakaya Kikwete Cardiac Institute (JKCI) at Muhimbili National Hospital (MNH) in Dar es Salaam.
Sathya Sai Society of Tanzania (SSST), a charity organisation in the country, in partnership with Rotary Club of Dar es Salaam, have arranged with the JKCI to operate on 115 children with heart cases without cost.
The operation exercise currently underway started in September and will go on well into November. With the help of donors, partners and stakeholders, the SSST has injected into the local cardiac exercise a total of US$15,000.
The SSST has previously sent abroad - to India - many children with a heart case, an exercise which drained the nation of much foreign exchange. Even after the establishment of Jakaya Kikwete Cardiac Institute the nation still spent 4.9bn/- in 2015 for treating heart patients abroad. Operations done at the JKCL save the nation of some funds, reducing drastically the sting of overseas cost.
The Jakaya Cardiac Institute handled some cardiac cases, enabling the nation to save a whooping 2.9bn/-. Occasionally the JKCI has in collaboration with a visiting team of foreign doctors conducted surgery workshops at a relief cost for the patients. Last year the visiting teams conducted 70 per cent of all the surgeries. The local team did only 30 percent of the operations.
But in only the first half of this year the visiting team has conducted 38 per cent of the operations. The remaining 62 per cent has been conducted by the local team, reflecting a huge role the Jakaya Kikwete Cardiac Institute is playing is saving foreign exchange. Heart disease is a prevalent problem in the country and has plagued hundreds, both in urban centres and in the rural areas.
To give the sick relief, the nation has sought treatment abroad by sending patients out of the country at a big coast. In 2015 heart surgeries referred to India cost the nation whooping 4.7bn/- against a petty sum of 1.7bn/ carried out in the country.
Now, however, the overseas trips won't be necessary because most heart operations can be performed at the Jakaya Kikwete Cardiac Institute. In the first half of 2016 heart operations carried out at the JKCI cost 2.6bn and saved the nation 2bn/-.
The project presently going on at the JKCI began on September 15 this year and will end sometime in November. In this critical program the JKCI is working in partnership with Mending Kids, a US organisation to save the lives of children in over 60 countries by critical life saving surgeries and creating self-sustaining surgical programs.
When the surgery exercise by the JKCI-Mending Kids ends not only will more than 150 children with a heart problem been operated on, Tanzania will have saved millions of its foreign exchange. Also getting medical help from JKCI-Mending Kids heart surgery program are heart patients from outside the country. By the time 'Daily News' talked to the hospital 43 heart operations had been conducted.
"Twenty one of them were open surgeries and 22 were intervention," explains Dr Sharau. The SSST Trustee Br Nathumal Sajnani says their Society is sponsoring the 115 heart surgeries at the JKCI in respect of the organisation's founder, Sri Sathya Sai Baba's birth anniversary.
"Sathya Sai Baba taught us that the body has to be maintained in a good condition for it is only when embodied in this human tabernacle that man can realise God," Br Nathumal explains the basis of their assistance. Previously, heart patients from the country went abroad, mostly to India, for treatment. Now, however, those medical trips overseas won't take place, except in some very special cases, Dr Sharau.
The exercise is carried out by the Jakaya Kikwete Cardiac Institute by an Asian organisation of Sathya Sai Society of Tanzania (SSST). The SSST paid the operation cost.
The whole organisation of the SSST is firmly behind the exercise of sponsoring heart surgeries of unfortunate Tanzania's children with the problem.
Sathya Sai Society Africa Zone Ramesh Hathiramani wrote Br Nathumal, telling him: "On behalf of Sathya Sai International Organisation I am pleased to confirm that you can go ahead with heart surgeries of 115 patients."
Br Hathiramani emphasizes that heart surgeries for the poor children must be free of charge. He hopes the best for the operations. "May Bhagwan sri Sathya Sai Baba bless you all for doing this noble cause," says Br Hathiramani.
Heart problem for children is a prevalent problem in the country. Out of 100 births, one will have a heart defect, explains Dr Sharau. Supportive, Dr Isabelle Fox, Mending Kids'Director of Surgical Missions explains that cases of Congenital Heart Disease (CHD) have no known specific causes.
"However, some types of congenital heart defects are known to occur more often when the mother comes in contact with certain substances/infections (anti-seizure medications, lithium, alcohol and rubella virus and... ) during the first few weeks of pregnancy, while the baby's is being formed," says Dr Fox.
She adds: "We only know some gene defects causing CHD and can be screened. Generally I would say that mothers cannot be responsible for baby' heart problems but have to consider that sometimes they live in small groups and consanguinity can be a problem."
Dr Sharau says the early days of a pregnancy are crucial and the mother must be careful about what she eats for the security of the baby.
A report by MayoClinic.com says, while over-indulging in processed meats can be detrimental to your health, taking moderate amounts of cured or smoked meat is all right. "Eating large amounts of roast meat or drinking alcohol could risk the life of the baby with malformed heart," Dr Sharau explains.
According to the doctor, some heart problems can be avoided if the mother watches what she eats before she becomes pregnant and while she is. "It is good to prepare the body for the task of carrying the baby in the womb and avoid, smoking, taking alcoholic drinks or taking drugs like cocaine and so forth," says the doctor.

Source : allafrica.com
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