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Kitui Saves Desperate Patient

Medics in Kitui county have conducted a successful eight-hour maxillofacial surgery to remove a 500-gram malignant growth that had damaged a patient’s left jaw.

Ms. Pendo Masonga, a 20-year-old Tanzanian was languishing on the cold streets of Nairobi with her son strapped on her back as she battled a debilitating malignant growth that had disfigured her left jaw, staring at a bleak future.

Masonga had no hope of raising funds to cater for her surgery that would cost a whooping Sh 2.5 million as she sat on the hot pavements of Nairobi streets begging for help.

As fate would have it, on July 10 lady luck struck when an entourage of Governor Charity Ngilu stopped by and her journey to healing started in earnest.

“On interacting with her, I found out that she has been living with this condition for a long time. She came to Kenya with the hope of meeting well-wishers to help her undergo a maxillofacial operation to correct the growth,’ said Ngilu.

Kitui County Governor Charity Ngilu speaks to Ms. Pendo after her surgery at Kitui County Referral Hospital.

The governor said that she was touched by her plight and offered to pay for her expenses to undergo the operation at Kitui County Referral Hospital, where other four similar surgeries had been conducted successfully.

Ngilu will continue to assist Masonga to ensure she assimilated back into the community as she recovers.

A team of 15 medical personnel at Kitui County Referral Hospital on Wednesday led by Kitui based Cuban Maxillofacial Surgeon Dr. Arelis Rabelo Castillo spent eight hours to remove the malignant tumour.

Speaking at the hospital Friday after reviewing Masonga’s progress, Dr. Castillo termed the complex surgery a success.

“The patient is recuperating in the general ward. However, she will require to undergo further reconstructive surgery to correct the defects occasioned by the growth,” added the Cuban maxillofacial surgeon.

Dr. Castillo explained that Oral Clanio and maxillofacial surgeons correct cleft palates, rebuild jaws, cheeks, noses, eye sockets, foreheads and diseases of the mouth.

“The surgeons also deal with non-surgical management of conditions such as facial pain, oral mucosal disease and infections,” she said.

Kitui based Cuban Maxillofacial Surgeon Dr. Arelis Rabelo Castillo (second right) reviews Ms. Pendo Masonga at Kitui County Referral Hospital. Photo Yobesh Onwong’a.

Dr. Castillo noted that a maxillofacial surgeon also helps in reconstructing the face of patients with fractured facial bones.

As the medic was reviewing Masonga, her son Elisha was playing with another caregiver on a separate bed.

The caregiver, Rachael Mutiso has offered to be baby Elisha’s nanny for the period she will be in hospital as she also monitors the progress of her sick mother in the same ward.

“I chose to help Masonga with babysitting her son. I am here taking care of my sick mother. I found free time in my hands and Elisha is keeping me busy and re-directing my thoughts from my mother’s ailment,” she said as she tossed the baby in the air playfully.

Dr. Edwin Rono, consultant and lecturer in Oral Cranio and Maxillofacial surgery, lamented low public awareness on the role of Oral Cranio and Maxillofacial Surgeons and specialists saying it impended on best treatment outcomes for patients seeking facial and cranio surgeries.

He said most patients present themselves very late, making their referral to specialists problematic. “Many health professionals lack proper understanding on the wide scope of surgical procedures that Oral Cranio and Maxillofacial surgeons offer,” Dr. Rono said.

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends a ratio of 23 health workers to 10,000 people.

By Yobesh Onwong’a

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