by Lorraine Anyango
Painless surgery, no painkillers needed, minimal access surgery where surgery is done without cutting open the patient, minimal wound morbidity, and a shorter stay in hospital after the surgery is done, even better less cost. This is what Gasless laparoscopic surgery NOW AVAILABLE at Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and Referral Hospital (JOOTRH) will avail you.
You are also able to resume your normal duties two to three days after surgery as the risks involved are almost zero but even better, all these for less than Ksh 10,000. The surgery is done using devices that have cameras and special instruments that can take photos and project images on a screen.
One pays between Ksh 350,000, to Ksh 300.000 to secure gasless laparoscopic services at a private hospital, about 150,000 of this amount is the doctor’s fee, but at JOOTRH one can now get the same services by just paying the theater fee of about Ksh 7,000.
This new technology at JOOTRH has been supported by the Operating Theatre Practitioners Association of Kenya (OTPAK). The organization is working to improve surgical care in Kenya.
OTPAK donated a laparoscopy tower, raise machines and instruments that can help with basic general surgery (like cholecystectomy, appendectomy), obstetrics-gynecology procedures such as oophorectomy, salpingectomy) and various other surgical disciplines.
The equipment can be used for both diagnosis and treatment procedures such as biopsy without opening the abdomen and one can treat by removing the foreign bodies.
The gasless laparoscopy equipment valued at Ksh 4.4 million was presented by OTPAK project manager Dr. Peter Gaturu and received by County Executive Committee Member (CECM) for Medical Services, Public Health, and Sanitation, Dr. Gregory Ganda at JOOTRH.
Prof Pankaj Jani, Professor of Surgery at the University of Nairobi and Chairman of OTPAK who attended the ceremony virtually emphasized the importance of institutional partnerships to be able to sustain the gains made so far.
He committed that OTPAK will support JOOTRH with consumables even as procedures are done, noting that about four centers have ceased laparoscopy due to lack of consumables.
So far about 70 laparoscopic procedures have been done which includes pediatric and forensic surgery. This has been in rural Kenya where the equipment has been installed.
“JOOTRH is the 12th public facility in Kenya to have laparoscopic equipment, with this surgery can be done under local anesthesia, we commit to training nurses, surgeons, biomedical staff, and anesthetists so that patients get to benefit.” Dr. Gaturu said while presenting the machine.
While Appreciating OTPAK for their kind gesture, Dr. Ganda gave assurance of a consistent dedicated surgical team that will look into instrument care while adding that though Kisumu was leading in primary care, it still needs more investments in other areas.
“Laparoscopy has been a reserve of the rich as the cost was prohibitive and was only available in high-end hospitals, now the less fortunate can afford it at a low cost.” Dr Patrick Marwa, a general surgeon and laparoscopic and surgical oncologist at JOOTRH said.
He added that the availability of the technology at JOOTRH will impact the training of surgeons as they will be equipped with the necessary skills to handle patients while using cutting-edge technology.
OTPAK’s current project is to establish a stainable system for gasless laparoscopic surgery. It aims to establish a self-sustaining laparoscopic surgery program by giving them a kickstart so they can go through the initial stages of implementation without much difficulty.
The delegation from OTPAK also included Dr. Jay Yagnik, Co-principal investigator, Dr. Gagan Bhogal – OTPAK secretary, and Dr. Hamza Khawaja- OTPAK member.
The team was received with the JOOTRH’s deputy CEO Dr. Dedan Ong’ong’a, Nursing director Terresa Okwiri, Dr Marwa, surgeons, and members of the JOOTRH Executive Committee.