Last week patients at the Katima Mulilo Hospital were able to benefit from medical attention from a group of volunteer doctors. This is all a part of an initiative started by the Minister of Health, Dr. Berhard Haufiku, to serve a number of patients situated in Rural areas where access to medical and surgical care is limited.
In many of the rural hospital of Zambia a lack of adequate instruments and personnel results in reduced efficacy in addressing the health issues of the locals. This is something that Dr. Hauifuku believes can be improved by getting private doctors to volunteer their services at rural hospitals.
His team consisted of doctors from various specialist including anaesthetists, oncologists, gynecologist and dentists. The team included Dr Agnello Nawa, Dr Charles Karamata, Dr Trevor Kapapa and Dr Noel Siyame. Together the doctors were able to perform a variety of operations including hysterectomies (removal of uterus and surrounding structures), removal of potentially dangerous lumps and myomectomies to remove fibroids.
“The procedures are not very complicated but they need a team of doctors – privileges that Katima Mulilo hospital do not have at the moment. So we are here to show the local doctors that these procedures can be done right at their hospital, instead of transferring cases every time,” said Dr. Karamata. He also went on to explain the financial benefits of adopting this approach stating, “It is in fact cheaper to send a team of doctors to a hospital in need of assistance, than sending many patients so far away, like Windhoek.”
“I love my results. I am so happy that I did not have to be transferred to Windhoek to be operated on. My surgery took less than an hour. Thank you for making my surgery a positive experience,”
remarked a patient who was treated for keloids.
This was only one of many testimonies to the positive effect this initiative has had on the patients benefitting from it. It serves as a great example of an innovative and cost-effective approach that can help improve rural health – which continues to be deficient in many parts of Africa.