UNTH, overseas partners plan free open-heart surgeries in November
The University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital (UNTH), Ituku –Ozalla, Enugu state said at the weekend that it was discussing with her overseas partners to ensure free open heart surgeries for Nigerians during her November mission.
About 20 patients including children and adults have so far registered for surgeries during the November mission which would be carried out by a team of surgeons from the hospital, the Voom Foundation and Rotary International, all based in the United Kingdom.
Chief Medical Director of the hospital, Dr Christopher Amah, who dropped the hint while briefing Journalists on the 4th session of her open heart surgeries being conducted by a team of medical personnel from the Cardio-Start Heart Foundation, United States of America (USA) and experts from the hospital, stated that the UNTH has reclaimed its pride of place as a national centre for cardiothoracic surgeries since the programme was kick-started four years ago.
He stated that though the hospital has tried as much as possible to reduce the fees for the surgeries to between N1m and N1.5 m for adults and N750,0000 for children following the support of her overseas partners, there was need to continue to reduce the amount in view of the growing list of Nigerians requiring open heart surgeries.
He said: “The good news about this programme since we started is that we have hardly denied any patient surgery on account of money. But we need the money to continue to sustain the programme. That is why we want Nigerians to own it by way of coming to assist. There are so many indigent patients who cannot afford the cost and that is where we are pained; because if you leave them, they will just die
The Voom foundation is coming in November. We are talking with them to see if patients could get the services free. That is why we keep calling on Rotary international who are coming with them to see if they can assist raise money to take care of the bills so that these patients can get the services free.
“These overseas partners are trying and doing their best to support us. So far, we have received eleven containers of medical facilities from them which have assisted the hospital free of charge since the programmes commenced. They have brought one mobile x-ray machine free of charge and so many things that we cannot name here which we have used to improve services at the hospital. Each time they want to leave, they do not only dash money to the patients; they also settle their medical bills. These are things that must involve our people if we hope to sustain the programme”.
Amah called on Nigerians who still look abroad for their medical tourism to patronize facilities in the country, saying there was no back in the effort to sustain the open heart surgery at the hospital.
He said that cardio-Start was coming to the hospital for the second time with volunteers from other parts of the world, adding that their presence was responsible for the success of handling complex heart surgeries (double coronary artery bypass) in the ongoing mission,stressing that they have also intervened in other medical cases.
Amah pointed stated that the hospital was poised to localize the open heart surgeries and was given the necessary support to her experts to train in other facilities abroad, explaining that so far, they (local experts) have been instrumental to the sustenance of the missions and have handled less complex cases with ease.
He thanked billionaire business man Arthur Eze who had always supported in the payment of indigent patients that underwent the surgeries, stressing that this year alone, he had paid the bills of six persons.