300 Nigerians benefit from UNTH heart surgery programme

The Voom Foundation alone has brought several support facilities that have reduced the cost of the surgery. PHOTO: AFP / Brendan Smialowski

About 300 patients from various parts of the country have benefited from the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital (UNTH) Ituku-Ozalla, Enugu State open heart surgeries since 2013.

Chief Medical Director of the hospital, Dr. Christopher Amah, disclosed this yesterday while briefing journalists on the 20th mission of the programme.

He said 25 Nigerians including children have been successfully operated upon while it has trained several local experts who are now capable of handling the exercise with less supervision.

Amah pointed out that it has also built facilities for the hospital, adding that in March this year, local experts led by Prof. Martin Aghaji performed open heart surgeries on three Nigerians at the hospital.

He stressed that the hospital was now beginning to reduce the number of volunteers from abroad on medical mission.

He said to boost the programme, Open Heart Pobic International, an Italian based non-governmental organisation (NGO) had signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the hospital to use its facilities for free open heart surgeries on children for the next five years.

The organisation, whose officials have arrived Enugu are expected to take off with their mission on May 8, adding that about 20 children with various cases of heart diseases would be attended to during the 14-day exercise.

“This is the only centre that has been consistent with this programme and since we resumed in 2013, we have not stopped. We can only thank the Voom Foundation, the Rotary Club International and others for their support.

“The Voom Foundation alone has brought several support facilities that have reduced the cost of the surgery. We now charge adults N1.5 million and children N1 million, which is nothing compared to what anybody with such can spend if taken overseas,” he said.

Amah said there were 30 adults and 57 children on the waiting list.

The disease, he noted, affects about 1.2 percent of every population and attributed its rise, especially in Africa to people’s lifestyle, poverty, ignorance and disease, stressing that had the hospital not provided the service, most people would not have known about its existence.


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