DAR ES SALAAM: THE Muhimbili National Hospital (MNH) has successfully performed surgeries on 31 children aged between 18 months and 24 years, who were born with various gender challenges.
The hospital’s Executive Director Prof Mohamed Janabi revealed this when speaking to the media at the institution. He urged the members of the public to understand that all gender-born challenges can be rectified.
“We have operated on children who have both male and female genitalia, and this is a significant challenge because a child may identify as male while parents perceive them as female, so we have corrected that,” Prof Janabi said.
Prof Janabi said that some children were born with only one opening for both bowel and urine excretion, and they have rectified these differences and made it possible for those children to become normal again.
“The community must understand that when children are born, they should examine them thoroughly, and if any abnormalities are detected, seek medical solutions early rather than hiding the child due to societal misconceptions,” he continued.
He elaborated that many of these problems can be resolved, and as the national hospital, they undertake these procedures at the highest level of expertise, utilising both local professionals and with collaborations foreign experts to enhance our skills.
Prof Janabi said that the primary aim is not only to address the medical issues to the public but to allow these children to reintegrate into society without the stigma or shame of their identity.
“We are not just correcting the physical problems but also considering the hormonal inclinations and other anatomical factors,” Prof Janabi emphasised.
Dr Gabriel Mtaturu, MNH Urologist has revealed that they have performed unique surgeries that have helped those children born with gender challenges.
“One of the unique surgeries we’ve performed is creating a female pathway using parts of the patient’s body that we have never utilised before and in another case, the patient had two urinary pathways, so we conducted a surgery to remove one and leave with a single pathway,” Dr Mtaturu explained.
MNH Pediatric Surgeon, Dr Petronila Ngiloi, emphasised that being born with ambiguous genitalia is a form of disability similar to others.
“This occurs when genetic factors combine, resulting in a child being born with ambiguous genitalia,” Dr Ngiloi stated. “There are cases where children appear male but are biologically female, and viceversa. The most challenging scenario is when a child is born with both male and female genitalia,” she added.
Dr Ngiloi highlighted the hesitancy of many individuals to undergo gender-affirming surgery due to concerns about societal perception, she emphasised that early intervention can alleviate these concerns.