UCTH to Perform First Open Heart Surgery in April

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By Bassey Inyang in Calabar

The University of Calabar Teaching Hospital (UCTH) has announced that it will conduct its first open heart surgery in the second week of April this year.

The authorities of the hospital said the expected surgical operation will be done by the teaching hospital in partnership with a United States-based team, VOOM Foundation.

Responding to questions in an interview published in the official newsletter of the hospital released at the weekend, the Chief Medical Director of UCTH, Prof. Ikpeme A. Ikpeme, said: “The hospital will join the big leagues of hospitals who have performed heart surgeries and it will be a giant stride achieved, as far as medical practice is concerned.

“We are planning open heart surgeries which will take place between the first two (2) weeks in May 2020. We are working hard towards that with a United States based team called VOOM FOUNDATION. We have taken deliveries of consumables, we are constructing a dedicated theater suite for the surgeries. Staff and bio-medical engineers are kept on standby. We are refurbishing our machines which will be used for the surgeries.”

The CMD further revealed that within the past nine months since he assumed office, the management has been “working on the vision and mission of the Hospital. Our mantra is to REBUILD, REBOOT AND RESTORE i.e human resources, infrastructure and material resources; to make a better Teaching Hospital that will serve the state and its environs effectively”.

On the area of research as a teaching hospital, Ikpeme said: “We are trying to develop and build upon the achievements of our institute for tropical research in the hospital and we are collaborating with the United States (US) military to research on malaria and drug-resistant in the tropics. Both clinical and field research is going on.”

He admitted having faced a lot of challenges since he assumed office but according to him, it’s been both challenging and interesting.

“The sanitation status of the hospital has improved greatly; at least three (3) teams visited the hospital, one of them is the FHI360. During their visit to the hospital, they commended the clean state of the hospital, saying it is the cleanest teaching health institution visited in Nigeria. The accreditation team from the Faculty of Anesthesia as well as the Medical Dental Council of Nigeria also attested to the state of cleanliness which shows progress since assumption of office.

“On water and electricity supply, great improvements have also been recorded where areas in the clinical services like Radiology, Intensive Care Unit (ICU), Wards, Recovery Room, and the theatre enjoy almost 24 hours electricity supply with time other areas will also benefit, water tanks have been replaced, broken pipes fixed. A water engineer has been contracted and the water regulating plan will be developed soonest.

“Attitude to work is a the human factor, it is not only UCTH problem it is a national problem. Overtime workers have developed a poor attitude to work but the management is working hard to restore sanity in its workforce. A time book and movement book has been analyzed to pick out ghost workers and lateness.

“The hospital has also entered into negotiations with a major radiology equipment company to bring back to life to all equipment that were no longer functional,” the CMD said.

He said his message to the public “is that we recognized how low the hospital sank in time past. We are a work in progress, striving very hard to meet the demands of our clients. We understand that we are the biggest health provider in Cross River State, we are thankful to the public for their confidence displayed in the last nine months. We urge them to return, we have the best hands, best brains, minds bigger concentration of excellently trained manpower. We are creating environments with quality equipment that will ensure that we have excellent health care service delivered to them. I want to state that UCTH is back and back very strongly, we are here and we will be getting better”.