The University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, UNTH, Ituku Ozalla Enugu and its partners in the Open Heart Surgery programme say they are determined to sustain the project, having achieved ninety-five percent success since its inception in 2013
The Chief Medical Director of the Hospital, Dr. Christopher Amah made this known in Enugu while briefing newsmen on the on-going fifteenth session of the Open Heart Surgery. Dr Amah said the programme was UNTH’s contribution towards curbing medical tourism and offer the poor the opportunity to access highly subsidized and free medical surgery at the hospital.
Dr Amah stated that the hospital’s partners, Voom Foundation, United States not only supported the hospital with free surgical facilities but also trained its medical personnel. He said cardiologists in the hospital led by Professor Martin Aghaji successfully performed open heart surgeries on three Nigerians attributing the feat to the training.
The surgical team led by the founder of Voom Foundation, Dr Vincent Ohaji who said the rise in heart diseases among Nigerians were due to lifestyle, poverty and ignorance, expressed the foundation’s readiness to alleviate the patients’ plights. The Head of the Cardiothoracic Unit of the hospital, Professor Basden Onwubere appealed to government at all levels to support the Open Heart Surgery project.
In the Intensive Care Unit, where the patients are monitored after the surgery, Mrs. Pauline Ejiofor, mother of a patient, Little Chinecherem thanked God for a successful surgery. The first beneficiary of the Open Heart Surgery in 2013 who is also a journalist, Mr. Ihemegbuna Okafor confirmed his recovery after the surgery.
To boost the programme, the hospital has signed a five year memorandum of understanding with Open Heart Pobic International based in Italy to use the hospital’s facilities for free open heart surgery on about twenty children with heart disease form Monday next week.
About thirty adults and fifty-seven children are on the waiting list for the surgery.