UNTH Records 23 Free Open Heart Surgeries

Ahamefula Ogbu

The Chief Medical Director of the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital (UNTH), Dr. Chris Amah at the weekend disclosed that 23 children with heart-related issues were successfully operated in the health institution.

Amah revealed this at a session with journalists, describing the free heart surgical operations carried out by Indian doctors as the most successful that had taken place in the facility since its establishment.

Amah explained that it was probably a gift from God, which according to him, occurred at a time when he was winding down his tenure as the chief medical director of the health institution.

He commended the team of medical personnel the team led by Chief Surgeon Dr. Ashish Katewa, who observed that Nigerian children “are robust and strong with one of the quickest recovery rates.

“The mission was successful. It was sponsored by the “Gift of Life”, a non-profit initiative by the Spiritan Self -Awareness Initiative Nigeria, working in partnership with the Aruike Hospital, Enugu, Sri Sathya Sai Sanjeevani Hospitals, Naya Raipur, Chattisgarh, India and the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, Enugu.

“I thank all who made this possible. I am very happy to witness this and I think it is way God is using to honour my last days as the CMD of this Teaching hospital as my tenure is coming to an end. This mission carried out 23 open heart surgeries and returned a 100 per cent success. 23 were operated on and 23 were successful. I am a very happy man. God used it to compensate me.”

Parents, whose children benefitted from the mission, commended the management of the teaching hospital for health mission while those whose children were screened but could not be operated on wept uncontrollably.

Amah noted that the last operation took over nine hours as the child whose operation had been adjudged successful developed complications at the Intensive care unit and had to be rolled back into the theater thereby taking the time two more operations that would have made it a 25 target would have used.

Her case, according to the chief medical director, was however successfully handled.

In a message to the team of surgeons, Revd Father Charles Ogada, whose non-profit organisation, organised the mission promised to do more, citing the need to save the lives of children with diverse heart challenges.

Specifically, Ogada thanked Dr. Kamala Kandala for her organisational skill on the mission and HRH Eze Goddy Okeke who picked the bill on charges by the UNTH as part of his philanthropy.

In his response, Katewa said, “I am nothing without my team.” He said some of the cases were complicated but expressed happiness that they were all well handled.”

Katewa pointed out that while some had been discharged, others would soon leave the hospital while the complicated cases would take more days of receiving care before being discharged.

He said his motivation was “to serve humanity. When people are happy, God is happy. It does not matter your religion or faith, helping humanity to live happily and assisting them with their problems is Godly.”

After the dance troupe entertained the team where they had to leave their seats to dance to the African beats, certificates were issued to children whose cases had been handled while parents composed songs in praise of the mission as well as celebrated their gains as cost of the operations would not have been affordable to them. Some cost as much as N10 million.

The medical team appealed to Nigerians to embrace the health system whereby hospital run no account contrary to charging patients which was possible if rich Nigerians add their efforts to donor agencies to see it through.

Listening to parents, tears filled the eyes of the Indians which made some of the speakers wonder that surgeons and experts who went through such lengths to open up people’s hearts had an emotional side.

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