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20 Undergoing Open Heart Surgeries At UNTH

Surgeons carrying out a medical procedure. PHOTO : pacificsurgeon.org

Surgeons carrying out a medical procedure. PHOTO : pacificsurgeon.org

Twenty persons suffering from various degrees of heart problems are currently undergoing open heart surgeries at the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital (UNTH), Enugu.

The exercise, funded by Rotary International in partnership with two other charity organisations — the Voom Foundation and Cardiostart, all based in the United States of America (USA), is the 12th medical mission carried out in the hospital, since it re-started the open heart surgeries three years ago.
It is also the third mission being carried out by the hospital and her oversees partners in the last few months, bringing the number of beneficiaries this year to about 43 persons.

Chief Medical Director (CMD) of the hospital, Dr Christopher Amah, yesterday, said that the current medical exercise, which started on Tuesday, would last for two weeks.

He noted that Rotary International paid for flight tickets, hotel accommodation, among others, of the 16 volunteers from the two
participating international charity organisations.

He stated that the synergy from the three bodies led to a huge reduction in the cost of the surgeries, with children now paying N300,000 and adults, N750,000, as against the previous N750,000 and N1.5million respectively, during last month’s exercise.

“This is a huge relief as it has grossly reduced cost of open heart surgery in this hospital. This kind of surgery costs over two million naira in hospitals overseas with cost of flight and feeding. We are
seriously targeting zero fees for the program to enable more people benefit from it.

“For this exercise, we are using our two operating rooms against one used before. The heart surgeries are moving on concurrently. We have
a long list of patients waiting to benefit from this exercise but majority of them do not have the funds. Heart diseases have become very rampart, especially in our local communities. Rotary is looking
forward to making the UNTH the hub of the open-heart surgeries in Nigeria. This is the reason why we must sustain the programme,” he said.

Rotarian team leader to the mission at the hospital,  Dr Irving Henry Tohver, said his organization was pleased to partner with the UNTH for the program, calling on government and corporate organizations in the country to sponsor the programme.

He said that it was difficult for the programme to survive withoutparticipation from members of the public in view of the financial
implication.

The President, Voom Foundation, Dr Vincent Ohaju and CardioStart team leader, Emily Anna Farkas, also harped on the need for Nigerians to assist with sustaining the programme, especially as international donors were around.

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