Surgeons target 500 in UTH Jubilee marathon

University Teaching Hospital (UTH) says 216 patients have so far undergone successful operations out of the projected 500 targeted in the special Jubilee surgery programme currently underway at the country’s largest referral hospital.

UTH managing director Lackson Kasonka said this was in line with the hospital’s Zambia at 50 Jubilee year independence celebrations.

Dr Kasonka said all patients scheduled for surgery should report to the hospital so that they could be attended to during this special period for operations.

“We have already operated on up to 216 patients in the first four days of the mass operations programme currently underway at the hospital. And we hope this number can increase up to 500 so that  we reduce the numbers of patients on the waiting lists for surgical care and treatment and also lessen the congestion and traffic at theatres,” he said.

Dr Kasonka explained that most patients from outside Lusaka have not yet been accounted for in the exercise meant to address the long wait and disease burden on the people as well as persistent congestion affecting smooth operations at the facility.

“We have room for 500 patients and we are waiting for them to come for the operations,” he said.

He said it was difficult for the hospital to effectively communicate to the patients over the marathon operations as it lacked necessary systems to reach out to all the patients in need of surgical operations.

“The hospital has had a backlog of patients who have been on the waiting list for surgery for a long time and we decided to dedicate time and human resource to theatre operations with all the doctors, theatre nurses and other support personnel including those on leave who have been recalled for this period to attend to the patients.

‘‘We thought that the best way to celebrate Jubilee with people afflicted by different ailments requiring surgery was to give them Jubilee present of dedicating ourselves to patients. We did not want to leave them to the normal operations of the hospital which traditionally has long queues for surgical needs and we hope we can reach 500 patients before the October 24th,” he said.

There have been complaints that the hospital was taking too long attending to patients’ surgical needs with some patients have died on while waiting for the day of the procedure.

Recently, the Ministry of Health announced the marathon surgery programme to be undertaken by the country’s major hospitals including the mobile hospitals which would handle the less complicated surgical procedures.