Ugandan doctors separate conjoined twins

A team of experts led by Dr John Sekabira, a senior consultant Paediatric surgeon at Mulago National Referral Hospital, May 3, 2022 successfully operated conjoined twins from Bulinda Village, Buhanika Sub-county,  Hoima District, born to Moses Taremwa and Hellen Kugonza. PHOTO/MULAGO HOSPITAL

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  • In a related development, doctors at Mbarara Regional Referral Hospital for the first time last Friday successfully separated conjoined twins that were born at 33 weeks to Ms Rebecca Nkunda

Doctors at Mbarara Regional Referral Hospital last Friday were all rejoicing after successfully separating conjoined twins, who were born at 33 weeks.

Ms Rabbecca Nkunda, 20, a resident of Kakooba, Mbarara City South Division, Mbarara City, said she went to the hospital after feeling contractions before rushing to Ruharo Mission Hospital for delivery.

“It all started like a normal contraction but they told me they were false. I went to Ruharo for a checkup and I was found to be fine but later, the contractions increased. 

Ms Nkunda said after her condition worsened, the health worker stopped giving her medication and she was able to deliver her babies normally, before referring her to Mbarara Regional Referral Hospital.

“After they [health workers at Ruharo Mission Hospital] had identified this abnormality, they advised the parents to come here and straight away we admitted them in the ward for prematures,” Dr Deus Twesigye, a senior consultant at Mbarara hospital, said.

Dr Felix Oyania, a paediatric surgeon at the hospital, said the twins weighed 3.5kgs each.

“When we received the children, we found out that their intestines were exposed,” Dr Oyania said.
Dr Oyania said this was his first operation of such a kind. 

“We involved our colleagues from the neonatal unit, radiologists, who checked the internal organs and senior consultants, who mobilised teams. It took us some time,” he said.

The Mbarara hospital director, Dr Celestine Barigye, said the experts they have at the facility helped them carry out the operation despite the fact that it was complex.

“They were alive and we were able to receive them and do necessary investigations, including scans to see whether the organs were good enough to survive,” he said.

He added: “Their urinary bladders were joined and also they did not have an outlet. So we put together a team of 10 specialists, two paediatric surgeons, a general surgeon, a specialist in anesthesia, and a specialist in urology and another in gastro- enterology. We also had a team of three paediatric surgeons, and radiologists and of course the nurses and midwives,” he said.

A team of specialists separate conjoined twins at Mbarara Regional Referral Hospital on May 29, 2022. PHOTO/FELIX AINEBYOONA

Dr Barigye said the operation was successful because they have built a strong team of specialists at the hospital.

“This operation was complicated because we needed specialists for almost every organ, for instance if we did not have a specialist for the gallbladder, the operation could not take place so getting all these specialties in one place is not easy,” he said.

Dr Barigye said government should increase funding to the hospital if they are to keep carrying out such operations.

Dr Barigye said the eight-hour operation, which was done free of charge, would cost the parents about Shs20m in a private hospital.

Meanwhile, a team of experts led by Dr John Sekabira, a senior consultant paediatric surgeon at Mulago hospital, yesterday successfully separated conjoined twins from Bulinda Village, Buhanika Sub-county,  Hoima District.


In March 2022, Mulago Specialised Hospital Doctors separated Siamese twins who were two months and eight days

In March 2021, Doctors at Soroti Regional Referral Hospital separated a pair of conjoined twins, who were six days old but one of the children died. The two shared liver and chest walls.