The Usmanu Danfodiyo University Teaching Hospital, Sokoto, has begun open heart surgery.
Dr. Nasir Muhammed, the acting Chief Medical Director of the hospital, who disclosed that over 5,000 people require heart surgery in Sokoto, Kebbi and Zamfara States, said the disease was a common problem all over the world; which could lead to sudden death.
According to Dr. Nasir, the surgery operation was being done in partnership with the King Muhammad VI University Teaching Hospital in Morocco, as part of their Memorandum of Understanding.
Explaining that most poor could not afford open heart surgery treatment, he said, “Before now, the only closest hospital where such operation is available is Nizamiyya hospital in Abuja and the least they can charge is five million naira or one has to travel overseas where he can pay double.”
He equally noted that open heart surgery was capital intensive; hence, he charged governments, corporate bodies and wealthy individuals to support the sustainability of the programme.
“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 organisations and wealthy individuals to sustain the programme,” he said.
Likewise, he explained that investment has been made in acquisition of equipment and personnel development; noting that the hospital would charge at least two million naira depending on the acuteness of the patient’s problem.
“We made a lot of investment on the programme. We trained our staff, both doctors and nurses, and equipped the centre with state of the art equipment; in addition of signing an MoU with King Muhammad VI University Teaching Hospital, Morocco,” he said.
The Morocco’s team led by a cardiovascular surgeon, Professor Boumzevra Drissi, said heart disease was one of the major cause of death in the globe. He advised people to avoid smoking and excess eating which he said were part causes of heart diseases.
Dr Abubakar Umar, a cardiothoracic surgeon at UDUS, disclosed that they had operated on five patients since the commencement of the programme on Sunday. He said the operations were done free of charge.
Advising that heart surgery should be included in the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), he said three of the patients had their heart valve replaced while others born with abnormality in their heart were operated.