By Abigirl Tembo Health Editor
IT has been seven years since a team of local doctors led by top surgeon Bothwell Mbuwayesango successfully separated a set of Siamese twins at Harare hospital in what was a first for Zimbabwe.
ZBC news health editor, Abigirl Tembo tracked the twins at their home in Highfield and filed this report.
Oblivious to the scorching September heat, the now seven year old twins, Kupakwashe and Tapiwanashe Chitiyo, enjoy a game of Kodo on the dusty streets of Highfield in Harare.
From the outside, the two might look like ordinary twins but they are a special pair for they were born joined from the chest to the upper abdomen, sharing a liver.
Successfully separated by a team of 50 local doctors in 2014, the boys’ scars are a reminder of the battle fought seven years ago at the then Harare central hospital now known as Sally Mugabe.
“Nobody showed me my kids, nobody told me how they were. I was shocked when I first saw them I couldn’t accept them and I cried. The doctors then sat me down and explained to me that they could survive. I then stayed in Hospital for 6 months. Intestines were separated and the liver then they wanted to fix the heart. Throughout the eight hours of the operation everyone was holding their breaths when they came rushing back telling me my kids were fine. Everyone was delighted,” recalled the mother, Agnes Chitiyo.
“They were less than 24 hours old. I was unemployed. I wondered how I was going to cope with the challenge. We were leaving with my brother at the time but we decided to focus positively,” said the father, Moses Chitiyo.
Faced with such a scenario, some men have been known to run away but Moses who was then unemployed soldiered on.
Being a father one has a lot of responsibility one does not have to run away. Although I was financially challenged I had to stick around, we have had our challenges. And we had to dress them for the past 7 years. They used to get minor infections. We used to do a lot of running and we did not have a place to stay in Harare. We had to stay with my mother in law,” he explained the predicament.
After 9 surgeries for Kupa and 13 for Tapiwa, Mr Chitiyo has nothing but praise for Zimbabwean doctors.
“Words fail me I just want to say thank you guys for the wonderful jobs you are doing and for serving my Children. To everyone else there is no need to travel outside Zimbabwe our country has capable doctors,” he expressed his gratitude.
Early this year, Dr Mbuwayesango and his team of pediatricians, neonatologists, anesthetists and nurses conducted another complex surgery at Sally Mugabe Hospital which took 18-hours to separate another pair of twins joined at the abdominal pelvic region.