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Malindi residents benefit from free surgeries by US medics

More than 300 residents of Malindi in Kilifi County have benefited from a free medical camp organized by surgeons from the United States of America (USA).

A total of 23 surgeons from the US pitched camp at the coastal town of Malindi, a renowned tourist destination since mid-October to conduct free surgeries for patients with neck tumors that are complex and expensive to treat.

The camp also brought together 25 Kenyan surgeons from Nairobi and Malindi, including medical lecturers who learned how to conduct complex surgeries.

The annual surgical camp organized by Caris Foundation, an NGO working to alleviate poverty in Kilifi, in partnership with Tawfiq Hospital.

The free medical camp started over ten years ago and so far over 5000 patients with neck tumours and other ailments have benefited.

Malindi residents thanked Caris Foundation, the USA, Kenyan doctors and the Tawfiq hospital for coming up with such a crucial initiative that continues to save lives especially patients from financially incapacitated families.

“We welcome the initiative. It has really helped us. Many lives are rescued every year through the free medical camp organized by the US surgeons, Caris Foundation, and the Malindi Tawfiq hospital,” said Saumu Charo, a beneficiary.

Prof James Netterville from Vanderbilt University in USA said they attended to patients with huge head and neck tumours some of which are cancerous and hard to treat in Kenya.

Prof. Netterville, who has been in the country over 30 times to do the surgeries, said they work with Tawfiq hospital which provides the theatres and space for the patients together with Caris Foundation.

The USA surgeon’s team comprises senior professors including some from Havard, Indiana, and Vanderbilt among other states to teach the Kenyan lecturers on such surgeries.

“As experts, we would have conducted more surgeries very fast but we slowed down the process such that within the two weeks we’re able to do major operations so that the Kenyan surgeons can take part,” said Prof Netterville.

Children and the elderly with rare tumours in the head and neck were the main  beneficiaries of the medical camp.

Jim Repart from the Caris Foundation said their organization has been in Kenya since 2008.He said the surgical camp became very important in 2009 when Netterville became available together with other general surgeons.

“We concentrated on head and neck because that was a specific need in Kenya to empower Kenyan doctors by teaching them and raising the level of ENT care,” said Mr Repart.

Tawfiq hospital CEO Ahmed Aboud said over 300 patients were screened.“These camps are crucial. They have helped to fight and reduce rampant cases of tumour-related diseases in Malindi and Kilifi. I am happy with the cooperation that we have with the county government and the political leaders as they will help us reach out to as many patients as possible in the grassroots to get treatment,” said Mr Aboud.

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