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30.11.2005 Health

KATH to give free surgery for hermaphrodites

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Kumasi, Nov. 30, GNA - Consulting urologists from the International Volunteers in Urology (IVU) of the United States will arrive in Kumasi next week to join their counterparts at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH) to offer free surgical operations for children with abnormal genital organs and other congenital malformations of the genitourinary tracts.

Children expected to benefit from the operations are those born with both male and female sex organs (hermaphrodites), bladder extrophy, penile hypospadia and hypertrophy of the clitoris among others. Dr Ken E.K. Aboah, Specialist Urologist of the Surgery Directorate of KATH who disclosed this in an interview with the media in Kumasi, said the IVU team would arrive in the metropolis on Saturday, December 3 for an eight-day free surgery mission.

The programme forms part of activities marking the 50th anniversary of the Hospital scheduled for Friday, December 9.

Dr Aboah explained that KATH's collaborating with IVU, which is a US based charitable medical organization, is to make genitourinary reconstructive surgeries accessible to needy children in Ghana. "Normally, one genitourinary tract reconstructive surgery could cost up to five million cedis in the country, an amount most parents cannot afford but with our collaboration with partners like IVU, such surgeries could be provided virtually free of charge", he said. Dr Aboah said the seven-member IVU team made up of consultant urologists, will be coming to the country with medical supplies valued at about 40,000 dollars for this year's operations. "Such significant consignment of supplies will enable us to charge a token fee of just 300,000 cedis per patient for laboratory and other incidental expenses during the operation".

He said about 40 children will be operated upon during the visit of the group whose mission is to undertake free pediatric urological surgeries and training outreach programmes to needy countries. Dr Aboah announced that studies conducted at KATH points to hereditary factors, viral infections and herbal and self-medication during pregnancy as the major possible causes of childr en born with congenital malformation of the genitourinary tracts.

He said such children if not attended to often grew up to lead very miserable lives due to their abnormal sex organs, urinary bladders, urethra, external and internal genitaria.

"We are delighted that IVU has agreed to visit the country for the second year running and it is hoped that together with those of us at KATH, we can bring some measure of relief to parents and their children born with such unfortunate congenital malformations", Dr Aboah added.

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