Friday, 22 July 2016

Inside Nigeria’s most sophisticated Heart Surgery Specialist Hospital

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Professor Kamar Adeleke explaining a point to media executives inside another state-of-the-arts facility at the center
The ultra modern heart surgery facilities at Tristate Heart and Vascular Center, Babcock University Teaching Hospital, Ilisan Remo in Ogun State-South West Nigeria might be the long awaited solution to the challenges threatening the lives of elite Nigerians who spend fortunes every year to seek medical help abroad for heart related problems.
The center played host to selected health journalists from some media houses in Nigeria (Including Asabeafrika) on Tuesday July, 5, 2016. Asabeafrika had received an impromptu invitation on Monday July 4 to be among a team of visiting journalists to the center the next day which happens to be a public holiday in Nigeria.
The take off point was at the Sheraton Hotel and Towers, Ikeja Lagos to Remo town in Ogun State. We took off in a fully air conditioned bus belonging to the Center at 9:15 am and got to Ilisan Remo at 10:10 am.

Chief Executive Officer of Tristate Health & Vascular Center, Dr. Kamar  Tayo Adeleke

The Center tucked inside the serene and beautiful ambience of Babcock University and equally affiliated to the Babcock University Teaching Hospital is a statement in modern global health technology blessed with a team of highly trained black and white heart medicine specialists.  
In line with World Health Organization standards we were asked to pull off our shoes behind a rack and handed white hygiene slippers to enable our movement around the facility seamless.  By 10:15 am, we were seated in the guest room of the center where Professor Kamar  Adeleke, the Chief Executive officer of the center appeared after 5 minutes to welcome us into Nigeria’s most equipped Heart Surgery Hospital, Tristate. Professor Kamar who was on a blue duty dress was with his Chief Operating Officer, Dr. Olukunle Iyanda, a tall and suave man in black suit.
Prof, as the CEO is famously addressed by his team took delight in leading us almost immediately into the first segment of the visit—facility tour. Kamar, a very amiable and intelligent health practitioner is the kind of man you will meet once and you get arrested by his strength of character.

Professor Kamar Adeleke sharing a heart  surgery experience with Media Executives

He is Intelligent, down to earth, humorous and knowledgeable in his art.  
As the chief salesman, spokesman and Chief Executive Officer of the Center, Professor Kamar was passionate about making his guests understand the workings of the various x-ray and heart solution equipments domiciled in various rooms of the center to the benefits of human heart.
The Ibadan, Oyo state born American trained cardiovascular expert and Professor of medicine did an excellent job of telling his guests more about the technological and natural benefits of the various heart surgery equipments in the various pre and post surgery facilities in the center.
From close observations, this blog discovered that the numerous heart treatment facilities which runs into millions of dollars in term of value are not only going to help Nigerian homes shed significant expenses incurred on health tourism abroad, annually for victims of cardiovascular disorder. The opportunity intends to offer among many other benefits, cheaper rates for cardiovascular treatment compared to the various emoluments that goes into the capital flight of medical tourism.
From available facts in the health circle, an average Nigerian medical tourist spends between $20, 000 and $40,000 extra budget on each medical trip or she makes (This excludes other emoluments like transport, shelter and food). On such fearsome trips, Open Heart Surgery (which is the core practice

Professor Kamar Adeleke explains a candid point to the GDA

of THVC) renal transplant, brain surgery, cancer and eye treatment are the most sought after treatments by Nigerians.
However, with the kind of equipments domiciled inside Dr.Kamar’s Tristate Heart and Vascular Center (THVC), Nigeria might be on the path to help reduce her health tourists’ 78% budget cost in annual health tourism capital flight. As if reading my mind as it searches for answers on how the Tristate Health intervention could save Nigerians from spending painful fortunes to treat loved ones abroad annually,  Dr. Kamar reacted while talking to journalist inside one of the heart diagnostic lab  “Depending on the procedure, we charge between N2.5 million and N4 million for treatment”.   The Albert Einstein Medical Center, USA trained cardiovascular expert continued “Our equipments here conforms to international standards and all our technologies are latest. It cost us N2.4 billion to put this center together and we incur millions of naira in maintenance monthly”.

L-R; Dr. Michael Sanusi, Dr. Tosin Majekodunmi, Professor Kamar Adekunle, Dr. Olukunle Iyanda & Dr. Bola Oyesola

We moved from the diagnostic laboratory down to dialysis lab where the heart of man is taken out, treated and reaffixed for a better living condition. We moved from one room to another as the excursion got more and more exciting with each journalists firing Kamar from every angle.  The team of experts around us grew from Professor Kamar and Dr. Olukunle Iyanda to that of the center’s Chief Anaestrologist, in the person of Dr. Bola Oyesola, a very calm and calculated practitioner.
Professor Kamar’s enthusiasm grew as the sight-seeing tour continued and we asked more questions about the several benefits of the equipments that dotted the center. Questions on the economic implications of importation of the health equipments and how the rising cost of dollars has affected the projection of center negatively were tackled by Dr. Iyanda while Professor Kamar threw light on the value of expertise available. The facility tour continued until we got to the Heart surgery theatre where some hi-tech health facilities were to be unveiled for observations.  

Members of National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) on a special visit to Tristate

The testimony of Mrs. Onyekwelu
It was in the course of the facility tour that a testimony spree sprung up from a section of the heart surgery theatre. Professor Kamar and his team were about showing us some advanced equipments for coronary artery repairs when a lady who later introduced herself as Mrs. Phillipa Onyekwelu came from the intensive area of the theatre to narrate her story to us without being prodded to do so.  “Please, are you journalists?” she asked before committing herself to us.  She began her story after we answered in the affirmative “My husband was in a critical condition that Doctors even gave him one week to live. We were actually preparing to fly him abroad but the strength to even stand 13 hours flight was no longer there. Somebody recommended this place (Tristate) to us. Initially when they said we should change his valve (Aortic Valve replacement) we were so skeptical about operation in Nigeria. We were even suggesting India but we discovered that even India, you go there and return, after a year, the person is gone. Not until somebody gave us this address. We called the Doctors to attend to us. And behold, it was like this people that came from America (Visiting Specialists) purposely came because of my husband. They are like angels; as if they came to Nigeria just to heal my husband because the stress was actually too much until we finally came here”.

Mrs. Phillipa Onyekwelu sharing her Tristate testimony with Media Executives

Mrs. Onyekwelu whose husband, Mr. Chuma Onyekwelu is one of the numerous patients inside the heart surgery ward told us why she is grateful to Tristate “We were going to see different cardiologists in Lagos. The first one told my husband that his heart condition was something he could manage all through his life and my husband was so scared. He said my husband shouldn’t go for operation. It was just about three weeks ago that he decided on his own and made up his mind to have an operation. So, the question was ‘where do we go to?’ until we met these doctors (Tristate Heart Care experts); we told them his problem and immediately they said we should bring him. We brought him yesterday and they took him to the theatre; go and look at him now. He is very okay
 Phillipa joyfully led us into the inner theatre and showed us her husband among other patients. He was being fed by a nurse. She said the treatment cost her N4.6 million against a hundred and fifty thousand dollars she would have spent abroad.  “I am happy to tell you that this place is the best place in Nigeria. I am very happy this is happening in Nigeria I am going to advertise this place to the world”.  She joyfully declared.

L-R; Dr. Michael Sanusi, Dr. Tosin Majekodunmi, Celebrity Blogger Gbenga Dan Asabe, Professor Kamar Adeleke, Dr. Olukunle Iyanda & Dr. Bola Oyesola

We Care for Nigerians’ Heart from our Hearts — Prof Kamar Adeleke
The Second leg of the visitation which is ‘Encounter with the Specialists,’ started 12pm with Professor Kamar leading his team of Heart Doctors to meet the Press.  In the team are; Dr. Olukunle Iyanda (COO), Dr. B.O Oyesola (Chief Anaestrologist), Dr. Michael Sanusi (Adult & Paediatric Cardiothoracic surgeon) and Dr. Tosin Majekodunmi (Chief of Structural Heart Disease)
Questions were asked, answers were given.  Answering a question on how best the awareness on the activities of Tristate can reach thousands of homes across Nigeria and probably Africa, the CEO, said it is not a bad thing for Nigerians to know that what they are literarily searching for in Sokoto (The Seat of the caliphate in Northern Nigeria) is now right in their Sokoto (Pocket of their dresses according to Yoruba language) “I believe any human being have the right to seek and get help from wherever they like. I don’t equally think it is government’s right to restrict anybody from going abroad to get medical help because it is their right. If I have the money and I trust someone somewhere else, why not? That person should be able to go and get the necessary help. It cannot be at the expense of the society”

One of the state-of-the-arts heart equipment inside the Tristate facility with some American Doctors at work

“Why we Spent N2.4 Billion Naira on Tristate”
Professor Kamar unveiled his balance sheet on what it cost to give Nigeria and Nigerians the best heart treatment center “Yes, we have spent a fortune so far.  We have spent about N2.4 billion naira to get this place done. Majority of the fund went into infrastructure, equipments and consumables. Staff salary is not included”
Kamar noted that even though the reaction from Nigerians is growing by the day, the hanky-panky nature of the Nigerian foreign market sector has affected their investment projection in no smaller measures “The reason for this investment shock is because of the epileptic foreign exchange regime in Nigeria which consistently affected our projection. At the initial stage of putting our project together, we had it at N158 to $1 dollar but you can imagine what the dollar is saying now. Every facility you see here are imported from advanced countries of the world. So, we are either importing with Dollar, Pound sterling or Euro”

At TRISTATE, human Doctors do the work while  JESUS the GREAT HEALER does the healing.

What People need to know about us?
So how is Tristate going to take her service to more Nigerians and reduce the cost spent on health tourism yearly?  “I think it is our job to first of all convince our people that we can do it. Once we are convinced that we can do it then, we have an industry to run. By the time they know that they can get the same treatment they are getting abroad, here, they will naturally come. We cannot force them that ‘you must come here’ and I think that is what Tristate stands for. How can we do that? One, we have to really do it to show them because to see is to believe. That is why I told you during the tour of facilities that majority of people that initially had their treatment in our facilities did not have (enough) money but they were healed. I could even remember the first treatment we gave. We brought everything from America only to discover that the valve (Mitra Valve replacement) that we brought was a wrong one and couldn’t be used. So, I paid from my pocket. I raised $2000 dollars to get a new valve. We have given out a lot of free treatments like that just to be able to show that this can be done and they were done successfully. Last month was when we decided that ‘if we are to make it sustainable, we cannot continue this way’. That anybody who is coming in now, must pay”
The Professor of medicine explained why heart treatment is affordably expensive at Tristate “All the equipments you saw in the cardiac art labs have a life expectancy of about 7 to 10 years. In about 8 year’s time, we must replace them. That is not added to the upgrade or the advancement that is attached to the best and latest technology. If you don’t have the money, then, you start losing the standards and we don’t want that to happen. We don’t want to go backward

Professor Kamar Adeleke, CEO, Tristate Heart & Cardiovascular Center with Celebrity Blogger, Gbenga Dan Asabe

Why NHIS is partnering with Tristate…
To add to her pedigree as Nigeria’s best heart surgery hospital, the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) a federal government organization recently signed a partnership with Tristate. Dr. Kamar confirmed this when a question was raised on how non-affluent Nigerians can benefit from Tristate “I can tell you right now, things are working for us. Because, for the first time in this past month, through the collaboration with National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) who came here themselves and saw what we are doing and they said ‘you know what? We are going to partner with you. We will sponsor patients for you’. As a matter of fact, they said any kid that is below the age of 5, they will sponsor them for us. That synergy is not really covering everything because each of the surgery case is capital intensive if we are to use the new exchange rate, probably it will go for a minimum rate of N3.5 million (Average Charge) For any child, NHIS said ‘We will be paying you N1.5 Million’ and we agreed. 

A session of Aortic & Miltra Valve replacement articles for Heart Surgery

We said the relations of such a child (Hole in the heart Patients, mostly)  will add up N500, 000 which will give us N2million for such operations which is still far down what we need to do a thing like that. But again, we have to find a way to help those without hope. Majority of Nigerians particularly the children cannot come up with that kind of money. So, what is our response to that challenge? We established a foundation which we called Tristate Heart Foundation. Tristate Heart Foundation has prominent Nigerians on board. The goal of this foundation is to serve as a palliative concern to those Nigerians who need emergency heart surgery to get off their predicament and imminent death. I believe since treatment cannot be hundred percent free, people should contribute something. The contribution may come from government, it may come from individuals, it may come from the NGOs and such funds generated through the efforts of the foundation will help them to earn treatment. We have to make this thing sustainable; Tristate cannot run this place at a loss. If we run it at a loss, Nigerians would not be able to get the desired treatment we are offering. And I believe you guys have a role to play, you have a role to play because you are the communicator”.
To be continued….
(For Consultation & Facility Inspection, Visit Tristate Cardiovascular Institute, Babcock University Teaching Hospital, Ilisan-Remo-Ogun State—Nigeria. Or call +234 -701-875 -7530, +234-807 -401- 2039, +234-807-100-0900 or visit

Gbenga Dan Asabe

Africa's Number One Celebrity Encounter Blog


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