A team of neurosurgeons from the US have began conducting surgeries at Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and Referral Hospital.
The 13 doctors were yesterday busy at the hospital’s main theater where they attended to a number of patients, some of who had come from as far as Entebbe in Uganda.
The doctors are in Kisumu courtesy of the Kisumu Neuroscience Initiative and are conducting complex surgeries, including spinal fractures and traumatic brain injuries.
The drive will run for the next 10 days.
Speaking at a press conference, the hospital’s Chief Executive Officer Peter Okoth said the facility has lined up 80 patients that require neurosurgical procedures.
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According to Dr Okoth, the facility receives 33 per cent of all surgical cases daily, numbers he hopes the neurosurgeons will help reduce.
“The facility is positioning itself as a centre of excellence to deal with the neurological disease burden in the region,” he said.
The implants and equipment brought by the medics helped subsidise the cost of the procedures.
“It is a very expensive exercise, but it’s subsidised to help those who cannot afford the cost of the procedures,” said Okoth, adding that those enrolled on NHIF will equally benefit.
The county department of health announced that the cost of the procedures expected to be in excess of Sh15 million will also be subsidised by the county administration.
The administration has contributed Sh5 million in pharmaceuticals, non-pharmaceuticals and equipment while the specialists will offer their expertise for free.
Kisumu Neuroscience Initiative was conceived to fill the shortage of neurosurgeons in the country. Kenya has only 20 neurosurgeons.
“The team has come to assist us scale up efforts and reduce the burden for neurosurgeons in the region,” added Okoth.
The team leader Victor Awuor said the US surgeons are drawn from Ohio, New York and Boston.
“We are looking forward to a busy few days, but we are ready to take up the task,” he said.
He explained that the team identified a hospital with infrastructure that would support their mission.
“We want to increase access, and hopefully the next generation of neurosurgeons will emanate from this initiative,” Dr Awuor said.
He announced that another team will return in September for the same exercise.