An Enugu-based non-governmental orgnanisation , Spiritan Self Awareness Initiative headed by Reverend Father Charles Ogada has arranged for 25 free pediatrics open heart surgeries to be carried out by Doctors from India who are expected in the country with their hi-tech equipment early January 2019.
Ogaga who spoke to the press in the company of his partners lamented there were over 89,000 cases of congenital heart problems among infants in the country yearly, adding that facilities to take care and save their lives were still lacking.
According to him, over 100 infants had been screened but due to the dearth of capacity and space for patients after the surgery, they had to slate only 25 for now while arrangement and capacity were being made to do more.
“This our medical outreach is part of an ongoing intervention aimed at saving children from heart diseases. We have our partners coming from India who would use some facilities of the UNTH to perform the procedures.
“Were there enough facilities to take on the operations, the team coming could have handled more than that but UNTH that we are collaborating with limits the number of people they can take after the procedure, so we have to reduce the number to 25.
“However, there are other legs of the programme whereby some doctors would be sent for free training and in return, spend some hours, days, months or even years of free service to us in return. We hope to grow bigger than this,” he said.
He explained that the facility at the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, UNTH, Enugu which they rely on could only take three open-heart surgery patients at a time or more would have been done within the period of the mission.
The cleric said he was moved by compassion to save the lives of the children who come mainly from the very rural poor that from infancy were malnourished and mostly die of treatable diseases.
The operations, he explained, would be at no cost to parents in line with their other programmes like free education and feeding programmes.
The story of the NGO started with an attempt to provide water for rural poor villagers in Ebe in Enugu State after which he moved to start an educational institution which has inched into secondary school.
All programmes of the school are also free though Ogada lamented that he was unable to offer admission to all applicants, adding, “it breaks my heart to see parents stay all day with their wards in the hope of being taken in but lack of space and resources doesn’t permit that.”