The Chief Medical Director (CMD) of the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital (UNTH), Dr. Chris Amah, has said that he does not regret investing in the open heart project.
In fact, he said, his greatest joy is that the lives of some persons who could not have afforded the cost of surgery anywhere, were saved after successful open heart surgeries at the UNTH which, according to him, is now a routine.
He spoke to reporters just as the chairman of the National Cardiothoracic Centre of Excellence, UNTH, Ituku Ozalla, Enugu, Prof. Basden Onwubere, attributed its massive progress to Amah’s financial support and engagement of international partners and philanthropists who helped to smoothen the process of surgery.
Onwubere said that due to Amah’s charitable disposition, the hospital only collects between thirty to forty per cent of the actual cost of surgery from patients.
Responding to questions from reporters at Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu, on the activities of the centre, Onwubere, a former provost of the college of medicine, University of Nigeria Nsukka, stated that UNTH started open-heart surgery in February 1974 and suspended it in 2007 due to movement to its new site at Ituku Ozalla.
However, he said, the number of surgeries carried out between 2013 till date (six years) was far higher than that for 1974 to 2007.
According to him, ‘’due to the critical nature of open-heart surgery, we don’t do that for financial gain but to save lives. Our CMD also invites philanthropists to pay for indigent patients who are in dire need of surgery.’’
He disclosed that the centre has carried out about 230 open-heart surgeries since March 2013 and that more than half of the figures were children.
The renowned cardiologist explained that apart from taking part in the process, “the foreign medical team retrains our local heart surgeons on the latest technology in open heart surgery.”
Since Amah’s appointment as UNTH’s CMD in 2011, the hospital has not only witnessed massive infrastructural development but also recorded great improvement in patients’ care and staff welfare.
Available information has also revealed that the number of open heart surgeries carried out at UNTH is the highest by any hospital in West Africa at present.
Source: Medical World Nigeria