Today the first joint replacement procedure ever…..was done in the new Machame orthopedic surgical theater.

Dr. Meyer and Dr. Lyimo preparing to insert an artificial hip at the Machame orthopedic surgical theater
Dr. Meyer and Dr. Lyimo insert an artificial hip at the Machame orthopedic surgical theater

Orthopedic surgeon Dr. Steve Meyer and his team from STEMM in Sioux City are back with us again and we had a patient with a badly deteriorated femur head. Normally, all we can do here is just remove it to lessen the pain and the patient goes about with one shorter leg and limited mobility. But a combination of Dr. Meyer’s creativity and willingness, our new facility, equipment and other support from Alegent and others, and the leadership and staff at Machame ….resulted in Mr. Mfura receiving a functional artificial hip instead.

This really is a remarkable milestone in the development of the orthopedic program here at Machame. It is another bit of pay off for all the effort over the past years. And also a testament to faith. The artificial hip itself, along with the specific instrument set used to install it were all sent to Machame from Alegent Health in 2003, in the hope that one day it might prove of use. Special thanks to former long term Alegent employee Jim Simon who collected and made us bring these items (and so much more) thinking that one day we just might be able to use them. Well, today we just did!

We have some additional program development to do here before we should consider routinely replacing joints. But today’s event shows how far we have come thanks to the long term support and commitment of so many. Thanks to you all.

The  photo shows Dr. Meyer and Dr. Lyimo preparing to insert the artificial hip.

Note: Dr. Meyer wants it made clear that he remains a University of Iowa loyalist and that his wearing of the Cornhusker surgical hat is testament to Tanzania’s environment of scarcity not to any change of heart.