Ashura Ibrahim

Vattikuti Foundation Partner Uses Surgical Robot to Help African Child

Chennai, India, July 6, 2012: Ashura Ibrahim, a 7-year-old girl from Dar es Salaam, Tanzania had been injured about two years ago in an accident on the road near her home. Her bladder had been damaged and her only medical option there left her with a tube to drain her urine. Not only was this an embarrassing and difficult thing for a young girl to live with, it was also a health risk. One year ago, the medical team at Apollo Hospital, Chennai took on the challenge. Pediatric Urologists examined her and Dr. V. Sripathi devised a surgery that used a flap of muscle from her bladder, which was transformed into a tube as a substitute for the urethra. The drain tube was gone, and she returned home a happy girl.

Recently, Ashura was brought back for a routine checkup. She was found to have a complication that caused urine to reverse flow back into her kidney. Her condition was a concern because serious infection and renal damage could result. More surgery was needed. Because he did not want to do a procedure that would again leave her with the dreaded tube to drain urine, Dr. Sripathi decided to use the daVinci robot to perform a “complex redo on the bladder base”.

The three-and-a half hour procedure was unique. Dr. Sripathi called it a “first”. He added, “Robotic surgery enabled us to achieve a perfect result in a very difficult situation with very minimal morbidity, with no pain and helped achieve (patient) discharge within a day.” Ashura, according to media reports, is again completely happy and living a normal life, back home in Tanzania with her parents. She will return next year for a follow-up visit.


A very satisfied Dr. Sripathi claims, “Robotic surgery will revolutionize the practice of surgery in children, especially in such complex situations, without resulting to large incisions and prolonged hospitalization.” Dr. Mahendra Bhandari, C E O of the Vattikuti Foundation said, “We are very pleased that the Foundation-facilitated establishment of a high powered robotic surgical program was used to help change the life of Ashura, a girl so much in need, so far from her home. When used in the right hands, the surgical robot truly is a world-changing tool.”


Reports from The Hindu, The Times of India, Apollo Hospitals and the Vattikuti Foundation contributed to this article.