No fewer than 108 patients with various degrees of heart problems have successfully undergone open heart surgery at the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital (UNTH), Enugu state, since 2013 when it recommenced its open heart surgery programme.
The hospital’s Chief Medical Director, Dr. Christopher Amah, who disclosed this while briefing journalists on the ongoing open heart surgery of the hospital, said the beneficiaries drawn from various parts of the country had been billed for surgeries in various countries of the world.
Amah said that the good thing about the exercise was that it was done at reduced cost compared to what the patient would spend travelling overseas, adding that the feat was made possible by the partnership the hospital had with foreign organisations.
Amah said that organisations like Voom Foundation, Rotary International, among others, had always partnered with the hospital to provide human and material support to the programme.
He stated that the current open heart surgery which began on Monday had seen nine patients already operated on, stressing that the patients were doing very well.
The CMD said the unique thing about the current programme was that 90 per cent of the medical experts were drawn from the hospital, saying it was an indication that local experts would completely take over the programme in the next few months.
At the moment, according to him, only two foreigners were working with experts in the hospital to carry out the surgeries.
“Our target is to do open heart surgery every month. We want to get to a point where we now do this routinely but more importantly at an affordable rate to Nigerians. We want to discourage medical tourism because of what Nigerians put into it. The UNTH is a centre of excellence and it is our hope that we keep the tempo”, he said.
The CMD however expressed excitement that the strike action embarked upon by Association of Resident Doctors did not affect the current programme, expressing regrets that the doctors could embark on strike over issues that never existed. He said those who embarked on strike action did not mean well for the hospital but were chasing after selfish benefits.
“The money they seek has no approval from federal government. We have explained this severally to them but to no avail. Instead they choose the part of blackmail and feeding the public with falsehood. It is a pity. They should retrace their steps for good”, he said. (Thisday)