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Laparoscopic Surgeons Ask Government to Invest in Minimal Surgical Equipment

Laparoscopic surgery being conducted at Kyabirwa surgical center. Courtesy photo.

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Doctors under the Association of the Laparoscopic Surgeons of Uganda-ALSU, want government to purchase laparoscopy equipment for all regional referral hospitals in the country, as a means of reducing risks involved in handling abdominal area surgical procedures.

Laparoscopic surgery is a surgical technique in which narrow tubes are inserted into the abdomen through small incisions where surgeons apply long and narrow instruments to cut and sew tissue without making cuts through the abdomen. 

Speaking at the commissioning of a laparoscopy theatre at the Jinja city’s based Kyabirwa surgical center on Friday, the ALSU president, Spire Kiggundu says that laparoscopic surgeries are majorly available in privately owned health facilities, which limits such procedures to the rich, yet if installed in public health facilities, they would universally be available for all people. 

Kiggundu stresses that laparoscopic procedures offer patients decency, low loss of blood and less pain, which enables them to regain their routine life prospects shortly after surgery. 

Kiggundu argues that, highly impoverished communities are the largest contributors to ailments like hernia, appendicitis and other abdominal related disorders and when laparoscopic procedures were spread out in the different parts of the country, they would receive treatment on time and decongest the hospitals. 

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Kiggundu adds that laparoscopic theatres are costly in terms of maintenance, but if government invests in capacity building of already existing laparoscopy surgeons and purchases standard equipment with timely access to electric power supply and internet, such procedures will be easily spread out to all parts of the country.

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Joel Okullo, the chairman of Uganda Medical and dental practitioners’ council says that, patients overstay in health facilities which exposes them to new infections and in turn thus retard their recovery progress after surgery.  However with laparascopic surgery, most patients are discharged within one day after after operation, which eases fatigue that afflicts health workers in the wards.

Kyabirwa’s director, Michael Marin says that their facility has handled 1,500 cases of hernia and appendicitis related surgical procedures, coming in from the rural communities in the past two years but, several other cases are not yet attended too due to time constraints.

Marin however, argues that, with the newly installed equipment, laparoscopic procedures will be offered at a free cost, which shall increase patients’ access to surgical services. 

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