It was all joy at a Burkina Faso teaching hospital after five children successfully underwent open-heart surgery. The historic surgery was thanks to French charity La Chaine de l’Espoir whose members are in Burkina Faso for a week-long surgical campaign at the Tengandogo University Hospital in Ouagadougou, the capital of the country.
All the five children, born with similar heart defects, are now recovering after the five-hour operation led by European doctors with help from health officials from Burkina Faso, Reuters reported.
“It’s largely about forming a team that can operate alone on children here, and we can stop having to transfer them to Morocco, to Tunisia, to France,” said Eric Cheysson, La Chaine de l’Espoir’s president.
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The landmark surgery is a redefining moment for Burkina Faso where challenges remain in the health sector. According to the WHO, Burkina Faso suffers from a severe lack of qualified health workers at all levels including support staff. Only a few hospitals have the capacity for surgeries while doctors are usually found only in district hospitals.
When surgery began in the world in the late 1800s, it was often met with infections and other complications that sometimes resulted in death. With the absence of improved technologies, early surgeries were without recent advanced techniques, while anesthesia became common only in the mid-to-late 1800s. By the 1900s, the risk of losing one’s life after surgery was less than 50 percent. Since then, surgery has progressed, leading to fewer complications and improved outcomes.
In recent years, the surgical field has witnessed some mind-blowing incisions that have saved precious lives and transformed others. Last October, “awake craniotomy” was done for the first time at the Nairobi Hospital in Kenya to remove a brain tumor while the patient was fully awake in order for the neurosurgeons to have real-time feedback on what they were doing.