Surgical breakthrough

Spanish surgeon teaches new technique

24 August 2016 | Health

A less invasive type of lung surgery was performed in Namibia for the first time yesterday.

Namibia made medical history yesterday when world-renowned Spanish surgeon Dr Diego Gonzalez Rivas performed a new type of lung surgery in the revamped Windhoek Central Hospital theatre.
The technique, known as uniportal video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery, had so far only been used in South Africa, making Namibia the second African country to employ this method.
Rivas made his breakthrough in 2010 with this technique, which not only cuts down on operating time but also significantly reduces the patient’s recovery period.
According to Rivas, who was here on the invitation of the health ministry, this technique leaves the patient with only a single scar as opposed to the conventional large wound.
“The aim of this operation is to not spread the ribs. The most painful thing of a surgery is spreading the ribs. And it is also about the quality of life that you give to the patient. The immunology system of the patient is also preserved,” explained Rivas.
He pointed out that state-of-the-art equipment used for this technique is expensive, but that it would definitely be an investment and eventually be a cheaper alternative in future. “It is like an investment, you save money on intensive care units because there are fewer complications, a reduced rate of pneumonia, pain and bleeding,” he said.

Operation
A group of local medical experts led by Dr Jones Nghaamwa and Dr Nico Feris joined Rivas yesterday to remove the right lung of a patient who had suffered from pulmonary tuberculosis in the past.
According to Nghaamwa the lung had to be removed because it had holes and the patient was coughing up blood. What sets this method apart from the conventional approaches is the fact that there is only a single incision with no rib spreading. According to the Namibian team leader this is an encouraging venture for the country’s young doctors who want to think outside the box.
“We plan to do many. This is the beginning of a journey. We need to switch our minds and our techniques.”


“I am watching young doctors who are the new generation and who want to do this kind of thing. So we have to adapt in order to improve ourselves,” said Nghaamwa.
The surgical team consisted of Willem Tak, Louis du Toit, Dr Nico Feris, Dr Florian Fleermuys, Dr Jones Nghaamwa, Steffie Blom, Petrina Mungunda and Ndapewa Shilongo, while Launa Bennett and Armas Shifotoka represented the Lady Pohamba Private Hospital.
Nghaamwa said uniportal thoracoscopic surgery is definitely the future for Namibian medicine.
Yesterday’s operation took about three hours and was preceded by a public lecture at the School of Medicine on Monday.
“This would not have been possible without this brilliant team. And it was an honour to have worked with Rivas, who has travelled the world. It was amazing watching him in action, the doctors and especially the students were inspired and now realise that they can specialise in the future and become the best in what they do,” Nghaamwa said.
Nghaamwa added that the procedure was a great achievement for the health ministry and a privilege for him as a doctor.

Lung cancer

Most of Rivas’s procedures using this technique have been done on lung cancer patients although the technique can be used for any kind of lung surgery.
“Most of my procedures are lung cancer, because most of our research in Europe is on cancer,” Rivas explained.

TB in Namibia

Namibia is the fourth worst TB-affected country in the world, with 9 882 patients diagnosed with the disease in 2014.
This was said by Health Minister Bernard Haufiku during the National TB Day commemoration last year.
During a recent stakeholder meeting the minister expressed concern that Namibia is missing about 30% of TB cases, which has contributed to the high rate of the disease.
“Especially in the mining sector, I think that is where we are missing the point,” he said.
JEMIMA BEUKES

Similar News

 

Congo fever: Only one confirmed case

4 days ago - 16 May 2019 | Health

Only one patient, who is recovering, has so far tested positive for Crimean Congo haemorrhagic fever (CCHF) in northern Namibia. Two other suspected cases...

Impaled boy back at school

6 days ago - 14 May 2019 | Health

A boy who was impaled on a broken chair during a classroom altercation last year has returned to school after undergoing bowel surgery on 22...

Congo fever fears deepen

1 week ago - 13 May 2019 | Health

A third suspected case of the highly contagious Crimean-Congo Haemorrhagic Fever (CCHF) has been reported at the Onandjokwe Lutheran Hospital. A 27-year-old man from Ontananga...

Congo fever fears rise

1 week ago - 09 May 2019 | Health

The Ontananga area in the Oshikoto Region is under surveillance after one patient tested positive for the highly contagious Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever (CCHF) and another...

Just different, not less

2 weeks ago - 30 April 2019 | Health

Mariselle Stofberg Autism is a lifelong developmental condition that affects how people perceive the world and interact with others.Autism, or autism spectrum disorder (ASD), refers...

US helps Namibia win against HIV

3 weeks ago - 23 April 2019 | Health

Namibia's health ministry last week signed a new five-year cooperation agreement with the United States Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) aimed at keeping...

Hepatitis still raging on

1 month - 15 April 2019 | Health

The hepatitis E outbreak in Namibia which has raged on for a year and a half, claimed another life bringing the total number of deaths...

Namibia makes progress on child malnutrition

1 month - 11 April 2019 | Health

The latest global estimates indicate that malnutrition among Namibian children under five years old has decreased since the year 2000.The new Joint Child Malnutrition Estimates...

Hospital hygiene leaves much to be desired

1 month - 05 April 2019 | Health

The poor hygiene at Namibian hospitals, which has made news headlines over the years, has once again been highlighted in a World Health Organisation (WHO)...

N$156bn lost to diseases

1 month - 03 April 2019 | Health

Diseases afflicting Namibia's population resulted in a N$156 billion loss to the country's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2015 alone. They were also responsible for...

Latest News

Rehoboth claim Kudus scalps

14 hours ago | Sports

Leandrea Louw Rehoboth Rugby Club claimed victory over Kudus in both the premier and reserve leagues on Saturday in Narraville.The premier league game ended 11-10...

Namibians nabbed in SA with...

14 hours ago | Crime

ELLANIE SMIT Two Namibian men were arrested in South Africa this weekend for allegedly being in possession of uncut diamonds to the value of...

Missing hiker alive and well...

14 hours ago | Environment

ELLANIE SMIT A 31-year-old Namibian, who went missing last week while hiking in a park in California, has been found alive and well. There was...

Let the games begin

14 hours ago | Columns

The Electoral Commission of Namibia last week announced 27 November as the date for the upcoming general election, which will be preceded by the supplementary...

Stray lions kill three cattle

14 hours ago | Environment

ILENI NANDJATOTwo stray lions killed three cattle last week in the grazing area near the Ongandjera salt pan at Okakewa.Okakewa is situated near Amarika in...

Where to from here?

14 hours ago | Sports

For all local football's claims to be the biggest sport in Namibia, it has never won a match at the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon)...

What dreams are made of

14 hours ago | Sports

My friend informed me that her daughter send me a congratulatory message a week ago after she heard that I was nominated for the fourth...

Fish River festival set to...

14 hours ago | Sports

Footballers from every corner of the country will converge on Mariental for the third edition of the Fish River Sports Festival that will take place...

Vikings slay Dolphins

14 hours ago | Sports

Adolf Kaure SFC Vikings defeated Dolphins Rugby Club 29-16 in a Namibia Rugby Union (NRU) first division west match that took place on Saturday at...

Load More