A Tanzanian woman has become the first person on the African continent, outside South Africa, to receive a lifesaving mechanical heart.
World-renowned cardiac and transplant surgeon Dr Willie Koen of the Netcare Christiaan Barnard Memorial hospital in Cape Town led the surgical team that implanted the device which will allow the critically damaged heart of Nurbanu Somji from Dar es Salam to continue functioning.
Somji was successfully treated for cancer in 2005, but her heart later deteriorated to such an extent that she became bedridden. Two months ago she was in a critical condition in a Dar es Salam hospital with heart failure and doctors and her family thought she may not survive.
The operation was part of an international collaboration to make the latest cardiac expertise and technology available to African patients with heart conditions.