As part of the voluntary service of Nigerians in the Diaspora in the health sector, a total of 49 surgeries had been performed within the last five years during the 7th open heart missions for children in the National Hospital Abuja.
The Chief Medical Director of National Hospital Abuja, Dr Jafaru Momoh gave this cheering news while receiving Hon.Abike Dabiri-Erewa, Chairman, Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM) who was on the spot assessment of the medical team in Abuja.
Momoh represented by Dr Aisha Umar, Director of Clinical Services explained that this was the second mission in 2019 with the first one carried out in May in which eight surgeries were done successfully.
“In this second phase of the mission, they planned to do 10 to 12 surgeries with a target of three per day ending on Saturday Nov. 30,” She said.
Umar said that due to the services rendered by the volunteers, the Hospital has subsidised the rate of the surgeries from N500,000 to N2.5 million per child, which was not enough to cover the bills for the surgery.
She said in the past five years, the medical team was able to train the local nurses, which had reduced the cost for them because they don’t have to travel with nurses again.
The Medical Director said the team was not being paid for their services nor given accommodation, all they do was to thank them and give necessary logistics support.
She therefore appealed to other medical personnel in the diaspora to make out time and conduct outreaches in any way possible.
Elated by the kind gesture of the Medical mission, Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, said the commission has been able to create the Diaspora Healthcare Initiative and thanked Dr Patrick Uwubanmwen (Chief Executive, Spem Quia Filii Foundation) who led the team of volunteers from United Kingdom.
The NIDCOM boss assured the team of Federal Government support, especially in the structure of the medical missions in Nigeria from the Diaspora and thanked the doctors for their selflessness, philanthropy, time and money towards the project.
Earlier, Dr Patrick Uwubanmwen said his Foundation and that of Healing Little Heart Foundation has successfully carried out 1,900 surgeries in 28 medical missions across the world.
He said he was inspired to start the foundation because he lost a brother to a heart disease, saying that heart diseases killed more than malaria globally.
Uwubanmwen listed other members of the team as Dr Zeena Makhija, Consultant Cardiothoracic and Congenital Heart Disease, Dr Raghu Ramaah, Consultant Intensive Care (ITU),Dr Nadia, Consultant Pediatric Cardiologist and Dr Singuha Consultant Pediatric Cardiac Anesthetist.
He said that the Healing Little Heart Foundation will be the first centre for children to receive open-heart surgery and hoping other geo- political zones will be able to replicate it, urging the government for more capacity to train the medical staff.
He said that they got four collaborations from different charities, thus requested for more funding from the government that will in turn assist the team and increase the success of more surgeries.