A farmer in Kitui county, who has lived with facial deformity for 30 years, can now sigh with relief after a successful facial reconstruction surgery conducted by a Cuban doctor at the Kitui Referral Hospital.
Maxillofacial surgeon Arelis Castillo conducted her first surgery at the hospital on Tuesday on 62-year-old Mwikali Muema, adding a feather in the cap of continued delivery of enhanced healthcare in the county.
The oral and maxillofacial region (jaws and face) doctor is among the three Cuban medical specialists deployed to the county by the National government to offer specialised medical care in the county’s top health facility.
In a three-hour operation, Castillo performed a muscular visual excision to remove a benign (non-cancerous) tumour that had engulfed the patient’s mouth twisting her face.
“The patient had been diagnosed with a maxillan tumour which called for an extirpation operation for its removal,” she told the press after the procedure.
Muema, who hails from Mithiikwani village, Kitui West sub-county, said she had lived with the condition for 30 years as she could not the raise the medical fee needed to rectify the condition.
“I have lived with a twisted face for long because I was unable to meet the cost of treatment at the hospitals in Nairobi,” she said before she was wheeled into the theatre.
The doctor said the tumour, which had gradually enlarged inside the patient’s mouth, could have blocked her windpipe had the patient stayed longer without treatment.
She said the patient spoke and chewed with difficulties since the tumour had already destroyed her upper gum, lip and jawbone occasioning removal of some of her upper teeth during the surgery.
“We had to remove some of her teeth during the operation, which will be replaced artificially after the full recovery of the patient,” said Naftali Muturi, a dentist at Kitui Level IV hospital, who assisted in the surgery.
Richard Muthoka, the acting CEC for Health and Sanitation, said the successful operation is a huge milestone towards realisation of the county government’s agenda for health as envisaged in the governor’s manifesto.
He said the county government will work with the National government and other partners in its efforts to offer specialised treatment in the county to help in decongesting top referral facilities in the country.