25 women, girls to undergo plastic surgeries on free

TWENTY-FIVE women and girls who suffered major burns and other deformities as a result of gender-based violence will undergo plastic reconstructive surgeries in Dar es Salaam from today.

The surgeries will be conducted on the women and girls in a project run by the Aga Khan Hospital, Dar es Salaam (AKH, D), in partnership with Reconstructing Women International (RWI) and Muhimbili National Hospital (MNH).

Chief Executive Officer of Aga Khan Hospital Mr Sisawo Konteh told reporters in the city yesterday that the surgeries aim to restore mobility for women and girls from various regions of Tanzania who have experienced physical impairment due to burns.

“Between November 28th and December 2nd, 2023, the hospital is set to host free plastic reconstructive surgeries for 25 women and girls who have suffered from major burns, severe deformities, and are victims of gender-based violence,” he said.

He said the procedures will be overseen by a proficient team of international plastic surgeons from RWI, hailing from the United States, Canada, and Europe.

They will collaborate closely with physicians from AKH, D, MNH, Bugando Medical Centre, and Mnazi Mmoja Hospital in Zanzibar.

He noted, initially, over 60 women and girls with burn-related conditions and who have suffered from complications of violence from across Tanzania underwent free screening, including those conducted in Zanzibar.

“Subsequently, a group of 25 women and 7 girls were selected for further screening to determine their eligibility for the surgeries. Finally, the 25 women and girls who met the necessary criteria for plastic reconstructive surgery were included in the treatments at no cost,” he said.

“This partnership programme has impacted 239 beneficiaries over the last 8 years and marks the importance of public private partnerships in supporting those in need.”

The Head of Reconstructive and Plastic Surgery at Muhimbili National Hospital Dr Edwin Mrema said; “the most satisfying moment of our career is when we help bring back the lost smiles and confidence of women and children.”

Dr Andrea Pusic, Plastic Surgeon, the team leader of RWI said the collaboration is not only help bringing back the smile for those injured women and girls but also building capacity for local surgeons.

“This is the 8th year of our very successful partnership with AKH, D and Muhimbili National Hospital. This collaboration has resulted in a very significant increase in local plastic surgery expertise and capacity,” Dr Pusic said.

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