Tanzania doctors successfully separate conjoined twins

Wednesday September 26 2018

Doctors conduct a surgery. Doctors at Tanzania's Muhimbili National Hospital in Dar es Salaam have successfully separated conjoined twins. FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP


Doctors at Tanzania's Muhimbili National Hospital have successfully separated two conjoined twins, marking a first since such operations began at the Dar es Salaam medical facility in 1994.

The two-month-old male twins were separated on Sunday by 10 specialist doctors, among them nine Tanzanians and an Irish.

A paediatric surgeon and a member of the team, Dr Petronilla Ngiloi, told The EastAfrican, that successful surgery was a milestone in the medical profession in the country.

“We attribute this milestone achievement to the availability of modern medical investigation facilities such as Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), Computerised Tomography (CT) Scan and Ultra Sound, which enabled us to examine appropriately the internal organs such as the liver,” noted Dr Ngiloi.

Give names

Dr Ngiloi explained that the team of four anaesthetists and six paediatric surgeons was led by liver surgery specialist, Prof Martin Corbally from Ireland.


The twins were conjoined on the stomach part towards the chest, a condition medically known as omphalopagus.

The twins, whose mother declined to give names until they were separated, were born on July 12, 2018 at Kisarawe, 96km south of Dar es Salaam.

Dr Ngiloi said they were admitted to a nearby dispensary before being referred to the coastal region hospital in Kibaha and later Muhimbili on the same day.

Baby died

The decision to separate them in Tanzania was reached at the end of July, two weeks after admission, and undergoing treatment for various infections.

The medics also were convinced about the availability of equipment and the specialists to do the job.

However, it took more than 50 days to complete the operation, since the twins were below the required 4.5kg body weight each.

The first conjoined twins separation was conducted in Tanzania in 1994, but was unsuccessful because one baby died after 63 days and was never removed from ICU.