In a first in Manipur, the Shija Hospitals and Research Institute (SHRI) has conducted a bilateral knee replacement surgery to a patient from a foreign country, Myanmar. The surgery was performed by the state's orthopaedic surgeons.
During a press conference at SHRI, Imphal West on Wednesday, chairman-cum-managing director of SHIJA, Dr Palin Khundongbam, informed that the institute had a 69-year-old patient from Myanmar with severe osteoarthritis of both knee joints.
On September 16, the patient underwent bilateral knee replacement and is now able to walk. This was the first bilateral knee replacement surgery in the hospital and the first in Manipur performed by the state's orthopaedic surgeons, Dr Palin said.
The surgery was performed by the orthopaedics team of Shija, led by consultant orthopaedic surgeon of SHRI, Dr Iboyaima Phuritshabam.
A large majority of patients report substantial or complete relief of their arthritic symptoms once they have undergone a total knee replacement, Dr Palin said, adding that the most important factor determining the success of the surgery is the skill and commitment of the surgeon and the patient's compliance.
The hospital has been performing hip and knee replacement surgeries regularly, he informed.
Talking about the inconveniences faced by the patient to reach Imphal, he said that due to closure of the Indo-Myanmar border, the patient was compelled to travel to Imphal via Kolkata from Myanmar. According to information shared by the patient, the main reason to choose SHIJA is the affordability of treatment, Dr Palin said.
As per their enquiry, treatment cost for joint replacement in Bangkok is four times higher than Shija and over 10 times costlier in Singapore. The presence of a Burmese translator at Shija also ensured smooth treatment, the MD of Shija said.
Dr Palin further said that Manipur can become one of the best medical tourist spots in the country by improving basic infrastructures. From SHRI’S side, various initiatives have been taken up to make the institute a center of quality healthcare in Southeast Asia, he said, adding that in three phases of Mission Myanmar, 130 cleft lip and palate surgeries, 179 cataract surgeries, and 32 keyhole surgeries were performed at free of cost.
For capacity building, Shija Overseas Training Program had provided free training on keyhole surgery, critical care nursing, and operation theatre technology to the doctors and nurses of Monywa General Hospital, Myanmar, Dr Palin informed.
Shija is a key player in attracting both domestic and international medical tourists. As of today, Shija has treated over 2,500 patients from Myanmar, he said.
The patient, Thein Pe Myint from Kanbalu Moha Mandalay, said that he had difficulties in walking but his treatment was delayed due to COVID-19 pandemic and lack of medical facilities in his country. He contacted hospitals in Bangkok and Singapore but Shija Hospital was the only one that responded to his queries and arranged for a consultation with the experts. Besides this, he had learned about Shija through one of the outreach programs in Myanmar. All these factors had made him opt for Shija, the patient said.