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Zambian Hospital Makes History for the 4th Time in a Row After Enabling a 19-year-old Patient to Eat for the First Time in 2 Years

A Zambian hospital is in the news once again and all for good reasons in what is becoming a successful run of life-changing surgeries in the African continent.

Ndola teaching hospital which is reputed for its quality but cost-effective medical care on Wednesday successfully conducted a transhiatal esophagectomy on a 19-year-old male patient by the name of webby Mulenga. For two years Mulenga could not take normal meals after ingesting acid.

A video of a happy Mulenga seen by Business Insider Sub-Saharan Africa captured him for the first-time eating yogurt and interacting with the hospital staff. He later thanked Ndola teaching hospital for the care accorded to him during his stay.

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“I am now able to eat and swallow without any difficulties after two years of suffering and am eager to return to school after a long time,” said Mulenga.


Ndola teaching hospital is the second-largest hospital in Zambia and is located in Ndola which is the provincial capital of the copper belt province.

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The team of surgeons who conducted the lifechanging operation are Dr. Kazuma Seke, Dr. Musonda Patrick, Dr. Musas Kad, Dr. Steven Mumbuluma, Anesthetist was Dr. Mumbwe Mbangu and theatre nurse was Ruth Sitali.


An X-ray image of the 19 year old patient showing his charred esophagus. (courtesy)
An X-ray image of the 19 year old patient showing his charred esophagus. (courtesy)

Dr. Seke, who is the main surgeon at the hospital said the surgery wasn’t easy and lasted four hours.


“The recent operation lasted 4 hours. It was challenging as the structure (narrowed part of esophagus) was high. A stomach conduit was used in our patient successfully,” Dr. Seke told BISSA.

Some limiting factors to operate on such patients is that they come in gross malnourished state and therefore not fit for such a big surgery. They require hospitalization with feeds which is not easy to achieve.” 


Dr Kazuma Seke (Far left) flanked by other Zambian doctors at a past medical event. (courtesy)Dr Kazuma Seke (Far left) flanked by other Zambian doctors at a past medical event. (courtesy)

While the statistics of people affected by the condition in Zambia is not known, the hospital receives about one patient every fortnight with the condition.

“The statistics are not known; however, we see about one patient every fortnight with this condition. A study is required to come up with statistics regarding patients with this injury.” Said Dr. Seke.

Dr. Seke says most patients he has interacted with usually drink acid in an effort to commit suicide but few die immediately condemning them to a slow painful death.

“The injury makes them die from starvation which takes long to kill. People should respect life even when faced with challenges. There is help through psychologists who can counsel them”



Written by How Africa

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