On August 23rd, 2021, Kenyatta University Teaching, Referral, and Research Hospital will be holding its first ENT surgical screening camp in the hopes of bringing back the gift of hearing. The camp will be held in partnership with Operation Eardrop Kenya, and the target is to provide ear surgery to thirty people who will be determined through the screening process.
Leading the team is Dr. Ian Macharia, an ENT surgeon at KUTRRH, whom we sat down to find out more about this speciality, and what we can expect from the ENT surgical camp.
How did you become an ENT doctor?
To become an ENT surgeon, you first become a medical doctor which is five years of training. I then did my internship, and one and a half years as a medical officer, before coming back to do further training as a specialist. Right now, I’m the first ENT surgeon here at KUTRRH and the Head of the Department.
Who is an ENT Surgeon?
An ENT doctor deals with ear, nose, throat, and head and neck surgery for those who don’t know. We’re surgeons and clinicians who also treat voice problems, allergies, tonsils, and sleep problems like snoring. We also deal with cancers together with other specialities. In the head and neck region, we have about six specialists, ENT being one of them. ENT is sort of like the go-between eye doctors, the brain surgeons, the maxillofacial surgeons, dentists, and sometimes the plastic surgeons.
Why did you choose to specialize in ENT?
ENT specialists have generally been known to have some of the best personalities – my father is an ENT surgeon – which helped me see the potential in that area. Then as a medical officer, I worked closely with another ENT surgeon. I was the only medical officer who was in two departments, ENT and obstetrics. That drew me because of the breadth of surgeries that could be done and dealing with both adults and pediatrics. We were also dealing with quality-of-life issues. Most ENT problems will not kill you. However, they reduce your quality of life. We come on board and help those patients improve that quality, which appealed to me. And of course, the fact that we also use a lot of gadgets in ENT such as scopes, microscopes. We do a lot of diagnostic work as well. And out of all the surgical specialities, we are the ones with the heaviest clinic because other surgeons have an equivalent physician.
Tell us about the planned ENT Surgical camp
We are planning an ear surgical camp for patients with infections and holes within the drum due to those infections. It’s in collaboration with Operation Eardrop Kenya, which is a local NGO. KUTRRH is the first Hospital that chose to do this during the COVID era to help patients with ear problems.
As for the Hospital itself, it’s going to be our first surgical camp. The camp is to help patients who can’t generally access this treatment. It also helps the surgeons in building their capacity as well as the training element to it.
The most important thing is that if you have an ear condition and need surgery of the ears; for example, multiple infections of the ears, which has reduced your hearing, or you have discharge coming from the ear, I encourage you to come. What we do is first diagnose the disease during our free screening. Many people are always scared of knowing what it is, but even further is that a lot of people are anxious about any surgical intervention.
The first thing we do is diagnose the problem, prepare you for theatre, and perform the surgery itself. Then we follow you up to make sure that it is successful – that the surgery has brought back the gift of hearing.
Infections of the ear are not something you should take lightly as a patient. And ear surgery is not something that ENT specialists take lightly. We do our very best to make sure that you’re safe, we use the best anesthetist and equipment, and we do our very best to make sure that it’s a safe surgery.
What kind of patients would qualify?
We’re looking for patients who either were told that they had needed surgery on their ears or have infections of their ear canal. We aim to be doing this more regularly. The ultimate aim of the KU Referral Hospital is to regularize the surgeries such that we don’t need a camp, such that we can see a patient booked for theatre without the need for a surgical outcome.
Screening for the ENT Surgical Camp will take place on Monday, August 23rd 2021, at Kenyatta University Teaching, Referral and Research Hospital. To book, call 1558 or 0800721038 (Toll-Free), or visit https://bit.ly/3xQidnx