By Christopher Isiguzo in Enugu
The University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital (UNTH), Enugu, says it has successfully carried out Open Heart Surgeries (OHS) on at least 300 persons since the recom- mencement of the programme in the hospital in March 2013.
Of the number, only three were completely carried out by the hospi- tal’s local team while the remaining were done by surgeons from the United States and the United King- dom and facilitated by the Vincent Obioma Ohaju Memorial (VOOM), foundation, a non-governmental charity organisation based in the United States.
ANigerian-born United Kingdom based Paediatric Surgeon; Dr. Ikenna Omeje is the lead surgeon for the 15th session.
Also, 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 coming as the hospital again raised the alarm that about two per cent of the nation’s population may be living with Surgically Amenable Conditions, and asked governments at all levels to earmark resources to arrest the situation before it degenerates to an alarming level.
Briefing newsmen at the hospital on the resumption of the 15th ses- sion of the programme from which a total of 20 patients including 10 children are expected to benefit, the UNTH Chief Medical Director, Dr. Christopher Amah, said already , three children had been operated on, while others were waiting for their turns.
He also disclosed that an additional 80 patients including 50 children and 30 adults were also on the waiting lists.
Amah reiterated his earlier stance that the hospital would want to carry out at least 100 open heart surgeries annually if enabled by funding, noting that because of the huge financial involvement in carrying out the exercise coupled with the fact that most people with heart related diseases were poor, most people were yet to take advantage of the exercise in the hospital.
“I can tell you that if we have improved funding, we can even handle 200 cases per annum and this will save this country huge sums of money that ordinarily would have left the country through capital flight,” he said.