The University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital (UNTH), Enugu, says it has successfully carried out Open Heart Surgeries (OHS) on at least 130 persons since the recommencement of the programme in the hospital in March 2013.
This is coming as the hospital raised the alarm that over five per cent of the nation's population may be living with Surgically Amenable Conditions, and asked governments at all levels to earmark resources to arrest the situation before it degenerates to an unmanageable level.
Briefing newsmen at the hospital on the resumption of the 12th session of the programme from which a total of 22 patients are expected to benefit, the UNTH Chief Medical Director, Dr Chris Amah, said another vital facility to the open heart surgery, the Cardiac Catheterization laboratory had been acquired and installed in the hospital with about 15 patients already benefitting from it.
Amah noted that the hospital would want to carry out at least 100 open heart surgeries annually if enabled by funding, noting that because of the huge financial involvement in carrying out the exercise coupled with the fact that most people with heart related diseases are poor, most people were yet to take advantage of the exercise in the hospital.
"I can tell you that if we have improved funding, we can even handle 200 cases per annum and this will save this country huge sums of money that ordinarily would have left the country through capital flight," he said.
He said out of the 22 patients slated to be operated upon, two persons received sponsorship from the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), another patient received sponsorship from the Office of the Head of Service of the Federation, while their partners from the VOOM Foundation led by Dr Vincent Ohaju are taking care of two indigent persons.