The Usmanu Danfodiyo University Teaching Hospital, Sokoto, has commenced open heart surgery.
Briefing newsmen in Sokoto, acting Chief Medical Director of the hospital, Dr. Nasir Muhammed, said the disease was a common problem all over the world and that anything that affect the heart could lead to untimely death.
According to him, over 5,000 people require heart surgery in Sokoto, Kebbi and Zamfara state.
“And these people are mostly poor who could not afford such treatment. 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 oversea where he can pay double,” he said
Muhammed who noted that open heart surgery was capital intensive, said the hospital would charge at least two million Naira depending on the severity of the problem.
He called on the governments, corporate organizations and wealthy individual 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 was being conducted in collaboration with the King Muhammad VI University Teaching Hospital in Morocco as part of their Memorandum of Understanding.
“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 explained.
On his part, Dr Abubakar Umar, a cardiothoracic surgeon of UDUS, said that they had operated on five patients since the commencement of the programme on Sunday. He said the operations were done without charges on the patients.
He said three of the patients had their heart valve replaced while others born with abnormality in their heart were operated.
He also advised that heart surgery should 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 cause of death in the globe and urged people to avoid smoking and excess eating which he said were part of causes of heart diseases.