Open-heart surgery has a long history in West Africa, starting in 1964 in Ghana, 1974 in Nigeria, in 1978 in Ivory Coast, and 1990 in Senegal. Throughout the history of open-heart surgery in the world and the high prevalence of structural heart disease in Africa, the Sir Emeka Okwuosa Foundation through the Dame Irene Okwuosa Memorial hospital executed 24 surgeries on 23 recipients from the 1 st of November – 11 th of November 2022 in partnership with VOOM Foundation, USA.
Following the open-heart surgery missions in May 2022 where the Sir Emeka Okwuosa Foundation and Dame Irene Okwuosa Memorial hospital executed 9 surgical cases, our mission in partnership with VOOM Foundation, USA was to triple performance of open-heart surgeries and demonstrate proficiency in all areas of patient care in paediatric cardiology that is appropriate for the promotion of optimal healthcare.
This surgical record catered to a preponderance of 3 Atrial Septal defects, 7 Tetralogy of Fallot (TOF), 10 Mitral Value repair, 2 Coronary Artery bypasses, 1 Tricuspid valve repair + ASD closure, modified Blalock-Taussig-Thomas -shunt procedure, 12 additional cardiac catheterizations and 1 Pacemaker Insertion. As at 14 th of November 2022, 10 recipients of the free open-heart surgery have been discharged with 7 children scheduled to be discharged on Wednesday, the 16 th of November 2022..
Speaking at the event was Mr. Abimbola Abioye and Mrs. Ifeoma Mkpuluma, who were on ground to observe proceedings from 2 nd November 2022 to 5 th November 2022 on behalf of the Honourable Minister, Federal Ministry of Health – Dr Osagie Ehanire, the Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Health – Mahmuda Mamman and the Director of Special projects/PPP and diaspora from Ministry of Health – Musa Lawal “it comes as a surprise to us at the Ministry of Health to see such a world-class facility in Nigeria that is offering excellent cardiology services for free. We want to be invested and contribute in the success story of the Dame Irene Okwuosa Memorial Hospital”.
Representatives from the Pediatric Association of Nigeria and the Nigerian Society for Paediatric Cardiology and the Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching hospital were present during the November missions. Speaking to us was Dr. Chijioke Ezeudu, a delegate of the Paediatric Association and a senior lecturer in the department of Paediatrics, Nnamdi Azikiwe University Awka who said “in all my practice in paediatrics, the Dame Irene Okwuosa Memorial Hospital has the best cardiology delivery and laboratory facility in the whole of Nigeria”.
In May 2022, the Sir Emeka Okwuosa Foundation commissioned the Dame Irene Okwuosa Memorial Hospital in Oraifite, Anambra State. It is equipped with state-of-the-art and high technology healthcare equipment like the 128-slice CT scan, the latest Cath lab and ICU Machines for the delivery of first-class medical services in a wide range of areas, which include multi-specialty surgeries, Advanced Cardiology procedures, Radiology & Anaesthesiology, Echocardiography, Internal Medicine, as well as offering services in General Health Screening, Otorhinolaryngology, Paediatrics, Obstetrics, Gynaecology and other clinical specializations.
By 2025, we aim to improve the cardiovascular health of all Nigerians by 35% while reducing deaths from cardiovascular diseases and stroke by 25%.” These goals will require new strategic directions for the Dame Irene Okwuosa Memorial hospital in its research, clinical, public health, and advocacy programs for cardiovascular health promotion and disease prevention in the next decade and beyond.