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Recently born conjoined twins were successfully separated in a six-hour operation at Netcare Unitas Hospital in Centurion

Managed care client: Swaziland Ministry of Health

Swaziland Ministry of Health has contracted Healthshare to provide managed healthcare for all Swaziland Ministry of Health referrals, under the Phalala Fund as well as the Civil Servants Medical Scheme, to South African private hospitals and specialists. Since engaging Healthshare’s services, referral costs have reduced by approximately 75% per patient, enabling many more patients to receive specialised care in South Africa.

Healthshare who administers the Phalala Fund on behalf of the Swaziland’s health ministry managed the entire medical referral for the separation of the conjoined twins.

Born prematurely at 36 weeks, the twin girls were brought to the Netcare Unitas Hospital together with their parents where a team of eight specialist doctors and 11 nursing professionals took part in the procedure. The twins were joined at the abdomen but fortunately each had their own heart and other vital organs increasing the chances of a successful separation. A skin bridge between them meant there was enough skin to close the surgical would on each baby without the need for plastic surgery. The most challenging aspect of the surgery was the anaesthesia, as intubation in tiny babies is a delicate procedure. Also, as the girls were facing each other, unable to lay on their backs and there was not much space between them, it made the intubation far more complicated. Getting the anaesthesia right took more than three hours and the care of four anaesthetists during the operation.

Speaking after the surgery, Dr. Tony de Coito, managing director of Healthshare, said that because the twins were born prematurely and had undergone a major surgery, they had a long road to recovery. The Healthshare team were very pleased to have assisted the family and find them such outstanding medical care in South Africa.

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