An American trained Nigerian Professor, Kamal Adeleke, has described as painful the number of Nigerians dying from cardiovascular diseases due to ignorance on where to access proper treatment or due to the high financial burden on medical treatment abroad.
He said heart and vessel related issues could be treated in Nigeria without the burden of spending much for travel to India, United States or Germany, adding that what is most important was for Nigerians to know the right treatment facility within the country to access, which will be more economical, yet result oriented.
Professor Adeleke, while stating this during a media tour of Tristate Heart and Vascular Centre, located in Babcock University, Ogun State, said centre was the answer to curbing medical tourism on cardiovascular issues in the country as it boast of every expertise and facility the best American cardiac centre can offer.
“One of the reasons there is still medical tourism on heart and vascular issues in the country is because most Nigerians are not yet aware there exist here a world class centre with the latest technology and highly trained doctors, that could do exactly what Nigerians travel to advanced countries to do, even at a lesser expenses,” he said.
Prof. Adeleke, who is the Chief Executive Officer and Founder of the centre, said, “since the hospital was commissioned in 2014, over 75 open heart surgeries have been done, with 98 per cent success rate. And so far, N2.4 billion has been spent in setting up the centre here.” Adding, he said the bulk of the money was spent on equipments, infrastructure and consumables.
To make it accessible to both the rich and the poor, the Chief Operating Officer of the centre, Dr. Olukunle Iyanda, said they have formed the Tristate Heart Foundation to help raise funds for people who need surgery but are unable to afford it, adding that the foundation will also be involved in awareness campaigns on how to prevent cardiovascular diseases, including hypertension and sudden death. “That is our main target, these issues can be prevented,” he added.
He said: “Tristate has conducted cardiac surgeries, open heart surgeries, vascular surgeries, valve replacement and anything that has to do with blood vessels. We will do even more.”
Speaking on high blood pressure, a Cardiothoracic Surgeon, Dr. Michael Sanusi said HBP was the most important risk factor for stroke, as it adds to the heart’s workload and damage arteries and organs over time.
In a brief chat with a wife of one of the patient, Mrs Phillipa Onyekwelu, who shared her testimony, said her husband became well courtesy of the treatment received in the centre. “We have been managing his illness for almost two years, until recently when we were told he had only one week to live. At that point we needed to rush him abroad we got to the airport only for him to be too weak to move not to talk of embarking on a long flight, then a doctor referred us here and we came. The operation was conducted last night and he is well and sound. We never knew Nigeria had a place like this, people need to come here rather than waste money abroad,” she added.