- Published on 03 December 2018
Tanzania has claimed major savings and a first in Africa by carrying out its own cochlear implant surgery in a major public hospital.
Until recently, giving Tanzanian children a cochlear implant operation has meant calling on specialists from abroad, with the government setting aside 1.2bn shillings (US$522,000) annually to subsidise this surgery.
Since June 2018, however, the Muhimbili National Hospital in Dar es Saleem has carried out 21 operations on children in the hands of local surgeons, 10 of them this November. The centre is now able to execute this surgery with almost 100% independence of foreign supervision, just one foreign specialist, Professor Lobna Shash, of Egypt's Ain Shams University, overseeing the recent implantations.
The head of the MNH Otrohinolaryngology Department, surgeon Dr. Edwin Liyombo, said that since these ops had been performed locally, 1.3bn shillings ($US565,000) had been saved, the cost of carrying them out elsewhere.
"Tanzania is the first country in Africa to offer such a service in public hospitals. In Kenya this is offered by private hospitals at $31,000 per child," stated Dr. Liyombo.
CI surgery at MNH means a cost per child of 33m shillings ($14,300). Dr Liyombo underlined that, since 2003, only 50 Tanzanian child patients have been able to receive operations abroad at government expense, while 21 such operations have been performed at MNH since June.