The performance of open heart surgery has started in Usmanu Danfodiyo University Teaching Hospital. This was disclosed to the newsmen in Sokoto yesterday, by the acting Chief Medical Director of the Medical Director of the hospital, Dr Nasir Muhammed. He also made known that over 5,000 per one million populations needs heart surgery in Sokoto, Kebbi and Zamfara States.
“And these people are mostly poor who could not afford such treatment as before now, the only closest hospital where such operation is available is Nizamiyya Hospital in Abuja and the least they can charge is N5 million or one has to travel overseas where he can pay double,” he said.
At least N2 million depending on the severity of the problem will be charged for the surgery, so making it capital intensive says Dr Nasir Muhammed. He called on governments, corporate organizations and wealthy individuals to support the programme for its sustainability.
“We cannot sustain it without their support. Open heart surgery is very expensive because of the kind of material used which majority of our people cannot afford. So we need the support of the government, corporate organizations and wealthy individuals to sustain the programme,” he said.
According to him, the current surgery operation is being conducted in collaboration with the King Muhammad VI University Teaching Hospital in Morocco as part of a Memorandum of Understanding signed.
“We made a lot of investments on the programme. We trained our staff both doctors and nurses and equipped the centre with state of the art equipments in addition of signing MoU with King Muhammad VI University Teaching Hospital, Morocco,” he explained. On his part, Dr Abubakar Umar, a cardiothoracic surgeon of UDUS, said that they had operated on five patients free of charge since the commencement of the programme on Sunday.
He said three of the patients had their heart valves replaced and there were some born with abnormality in hearts. He said the hospital targeted a maximum of 10 patients for the current exercise. He said that the hospital would soon launch a foundation to get support for people who needed heart surgery as funding was their serious challenge. He also advised that heart surgery be included in the National Health Insurance Scheme.
The leader of the Morocco’s team, Professor Boumzevra Drissi, a cardiovascular surgeon, said heart disease was one of the major causes of death globally and urged people to avoid smoking and excess eating which he said were parts of the causes of heart diseases.