The University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan, in collaboration with Healing Little Hearts, a United Kingdom-based charity that provides free heart surgeries for babies and children, on Monday, flagged an open-heart surgery session to repair various defects in the hearts of 10 children.
UCH’s head of cardiovascular team, Professor Samuel Omokhodion said the children whose ages ranged from 5 months to 12 years were selected from the pool of regular follow-up patients at the hospital who require a definitive solution to their heart defects.
He stated that the open-heart surgeries which will run till Friday would have two children per day and is targeted at indigent patients, who are least able to afford the surgery which now costs over N3 million.
According to him, the congenital heart defects in the children included a hole in the wall between the heart’s upper chambers, a hole in the wall between the heart’s lower chambers and the narrowing of the large blood vessel that leads from the heart. Others include a condition where the two main arteries carrying blood out of the heart are switched in position.
He declared, “we are providing a definitive surgical solution to their problems, rather than palliating them. So it is in collaboration with Healing Little Hearts, an organisation headed by Dr Sanjiv Nichni. However, this is facilitated by Dr Olumide Oyefeso, a pediatrician and founder of 4Breath4Life and tagged Heart4Nigeria.”
Omokhodion, a pediatric cardiologist, stated that the surgery will also be developing and building the capacity of doctors to carry out repair of heart defects in both children and adults in a bid to subsequently ensure that open-heart surgeries become a regular part of services available at the hospital.