AMREF Outreach Specialist Programme held a Urology Medical Camp at the Turiani Hospital in Tanzania in February 2012. Dr. Frank Bright, one of the doctors who assist in AMREF’s specialist outreach programme. His specialty is urology. The inhabitants of Turiani refer to him as ‘bingwa’, a name he was given after performing surgeries in Turiani in December 2011. 12 TURP surgeries were successfully done and a case of herniotomy.
Turiani is a small town in the south of Tanzania. The difficult logistics in getting there compelled us to travel by plane. When we arrived there, it was nothing close to a vacation destination. The residents were living in abject poverty! They were eagerly waiting for us to arrive and we got somewhat of a small welcome ceremony.
It wasn’t long before we were settled in and he attended to patients with a disarming panache and vitality which was highly encouraging. The male patients walked into the clinic one after the other; the reason behind their agony concealed in baggy pants and ‘shukas’. It did not take long before the room was overwhelmed with a pungent smell of urine once the patient removed the shuka.
The turn-out was however shockingly low as many could not afford the procedures. Urology related procedures across East Africa is priced at about KShs 100,000 and thanks to FDSA members continued support and belief in our endeavor, we were able to subsidize these costs to TShs 20,000 (about $15).
While this monumental decrease in price is commendable, the cost was still above the financial capability of the locals. This is why financial support for this programme, provided by FDSA is vital. 12 procedures were successfully performed in the five days we were in Turiani. Our time at Turiani was limited and needless to say there are countless other places that our Outreach is targeting to deliver this much needed healthcare service to those who have otherwise no access to it.
Herniotomy is a surgery that is done as a result of no communication between the abdomen and the scrotum. The procedure includes separation of the intertwined pathways of the abdomen and scrotum. The procedure takes 45 minutes.
This is a procedure done to widen the urine pathway. The urethra constricts due to an enlarging prostate leaving a small path which results in painful passing of urine. The procedure involves shaving off of the prostate to create room for urine to pass. The shavings are then stored into a prostatic tin and a biopsy is done to determine whether the growth is malignant. After the procedure, a catheter is inserted into the urethra to assist the patient with passing urine. The urine is collected in a urine bag that the user straps on his leg.
The patient will have the catheter for at least 24 hours and by the third day they will urinate normally. Pain may be experienced when urinating the first times as the urethra is still in the healing process but this procedure is most recommendation due to the fast healing process.