First Lady visits leading hospital in Cape Town


First Lady Margaret Kenyatta on Thursday visited one of the leading hospitals in Cape Town where she sat through a live surgical operation to remove fibroids from a patient.

The Laparoscopic myomectomy operation at the Netcare Christiaan Barnard Memorial Hospital was conducted by a team of physicians led by one of the leading Hysteroscopic and Laparoscopic surgeons, Prof. Rafique B. Parkar from Kenya who trains doctors in various countries in Africa and Arabia.

The First Lady followed the 90-minute surgery via a video-link connecting the operating theatre and the special lecture room where she was joined by doctors drawn from across the world who interacted with the surgical team through questions.

Laparoscopic surgeries are medical procedures in which fiber-optic instruments are inserted through small cuts on the abdominal wall to view the organs in the abdomen or permit Surgery.

These operations do not involve the opening up of the body and in most cases do not require blood transfusions. They also take lesser time, less recovery time and also less costly compared to open surgery.

During today’s operation, Prof. Rafique removed four huge fibroids from a 40-year patient as his audience including the First Lady interacted with the surgeon who kept joking about the many fibroids he had removed from his patients during his 25 years of surgery, including in Kenya.

Despite the highly involving operation to carefully remove the fibroids without injuring other vital organs, the doctors made-light of the moment and kept congratulating Prof. Rafique every time he cut off a fibroid.

After the successful surgery Dr Ivo Meinhold from Germany, and who was among the link-team between the audience and the Surgery team thanked the First Lady for both attending today’s surgical session and for her commitment to the health of women in Africa.

The 16-storey , 248-bed Netcare Christiaan Barnard Memorial Hospital is named after Dr. Chistiaan Barnard who performed the world’s first human-to-human heart transplant in 1967.

The First Lady is in South Africa on the invitation of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynacologists who on Wednesday bestowed on her the prestigious Fellowship of Honoris Causa Award during RCOG’s 2017 annual Congress at the Cape Town International Convention Centre.

The honorary accolade was in recognition of the First Lady’s unflinching commitment to end maternal and child mortality in Kenya besides her efforts to reduce mother-to-child HIV transmission under the highly innovative Beyond Zero initiative.

The Honorary Fellowships are the highest Awards by the RCOG and are given following a rigorous exercise of screening and vetting by the Council.

In a keynote address during the ceremony on Wednesday, the First Lady said that health issues facing women and girls go beyond medicine and must be addressed holistically.

She said the health issues facing women are as diverse as the women themselves and are not limited to scientific and biological components, but informed by socio-economic, political and cultural realities that also differ across communities and regions.