The Jos University Teaching Hospital (JUTH), on Monday received heart and lungs surgery equipment donated by Project CURE, an NGO based in Denver, United States.
Edmund Banwat, JUTH’s Chief Medical Director, who received the items, told newsmen that they were worth “far more than 300,000 dollars’’.
He said the North-Western University, Chicago in Canada, offered to pay the 20,300 dollars shipment cost to Nigeria.
“In these days of under-funding, these are innovative ways of bridging that gap,’’ he explained.
Mr Banwat, a professor, said that the gesture had fitted into JUTH’s strategic development plans of expanding its scope of services.
“We want to offer crucial services, like heart surgery, but have been incapacitated by the lack of equipment.
“We have more than 100 children with heart defects that require open or closed surgery to correct. Aside such congenital cases, we also have adults that have developed heart issues.
“What we have always done is to screen the patients and take them to Abuja where surgeries would be conducted on them by Hospital for Humanity, a U.S.-based NGO.
“Some patients are also taken to Salaam Hospital, Khartoum, with the Sudanese hospital footing the bill as part of a partnership agreement with JUTH.
“Now that we have the equipment, we shall carry out the surgeries from here; we already have one trained cardiothoracic surgeon and shall train more,’’ he said.
He said that the experts from the U.S.-based Hospital for Humanity, who had always undertaken the surgeries in Abuja, had resolved to hold the first heart surgery in JUTH on May 26.
Banwat regretted that many heart patients often die before it was their turn for the surgery, and expressed happiness that the surgeries would now be carried out in JUTH.
The CMD promised to intensify the advocacy toward partnering with more international health organisations so as to realise the vision of making JUTH a world class hospital.
Speaking to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Dr. Njem Josiah Miner, the hospital’s cardiothoracic surgeon, said that the arrival of the equipment was a milestone in Nigeria’s healthcare delivery system.
“There is no hospital in Nigeria that carries out open heart surgery on regular basis, in spite of the high burden of heart diseases in the country.
“Some patients that can afford it go abroad for the surgery, but with the equipment here, we can successfully carry out the operations in JUTH so as to save lives at minimum cost.’’
He said that there was enough manpower for the activity, adding that what was required was the enabling environment to work.
“The heart and lung surgery machine is here; the required consumables are also here. What remains is for us to get down to work immediately,’’ he said.
Among items received were camera and video for all scopes, centrifuge, cold therapy units, endoscopy cart, surgical instrument kits and laparoscopic. (NAN)