Friday, 5 August 2016

Why many Nigerians are dying of heart attack — Heart Doctors

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The GDA and other Media Executives taking notes under the influence of Professor Kamar Adeleke
A group of Heart  medicine experts lead by Professor Kamar Adeleke of Tristate Heart & Vascular Center, Ilisan-Remo in Ogun State—South West Nigeria have listed three major reasons why Nigerians now die of heart attack (Cardiovascular accident).  The heart doctors listed poor nutritional habits, lack of cart test regime and bad pre birth health monitoring culture for babies by government as the three dare-devil musketeers that contributes to the high indices of sudden and summary deaths among Nigerians these days.  It will be recalled that two famous Nigerian Football Coaches in the person of Mr. Stephen Okechukwu Keshi and Mr. Amodu Shuaibu had died of heart related diseases couple of weeks back in Edo State, Southern Nigeria.

The Hear Experts of Tristate Heart & Vascular Center with Media Executives
Speaking to journalists after a tour of a N2.4 Billion Naira ultra modern heart surgery facilities at Tristate Heart and Vascular Center, Babcock University Teaching Hospital, Ilisan Remo in Ogun State-South West Nigeria,  the medical experts lead by  Professor Kamar Adeleke,  and his team of administrators;  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) called for an urgent review by the Nigerian Government for a national health tax regime that will enable average Nigerians to have a pool of funds that can help defray the heavy cost of health related surgery when the need arises. The second solution proffered by the Tristate heart experts is an improved level of awareness on the part of government on how Nigerians can avoid things that leads to a damaged heart.
Professor Kamar Adeleke, CEO, Tristate Heart & Vascular Center
Tristate  Heart & Vascular Center (THVC) which prides herself as the most equipped Heart Hospital in Western Sahara Africa urged Nigerians not to only check their heart conditions from time to time but to equally engage in physical activities that will protect their heart and reduce the risk of Cardiovascular disease including stroke and paralysis. 

Professor Kamar Adeleke in a Hearty discussion with the GDA as Dr. Olukunle Iyanda listens

Tristate which started her operations at the University Teaching Hospital (UCH) Ibadan, in 2014 is providing a comprehensive health tourism relief for all Nigerians with the installation of several state-of-the-arts heart treatment facilities at her new site which is affiliated to Babcock University Teaching Hospital, Ilisan Remo
“Our major aim is to help a large number of Nigerians spending fortunes annually on health tourism to India and other countries cut down their budget by saving at least 46 percent cost and still get the same treatment they get in Germany, USA and India here in Nigeria” Professor Kamar assured Asabeafrika and other media executive while taking a tour round the state-of-the-arts heart treatment facilities.
The GDA poses with a brand new Heart Surgery Ambulance at THVC
Kamar who said heart surgery in their facility costs between N3.5 Million Naira and N4.5 million said even though the elite class could afford it but that cannot be said of the ordinary citizen of Nigeria. “Yes, we want many Nigerians to benefit from this great opportunity. We have been able to bring experience, service and expertise together but we must be humane enough to give service to everyone no matter class or ability” Kamar noted.

The Heart experts at Tristate with members of NHIS when they visited

 He was happy to inform us that recently the Federal Government owned National Health Insurance Scheme came visiting and endorsed Tristate, promising to partner the organization in the area of heart operation for children of 0 to 5 years “I can tell you right now, things are working for us. This past month and for the first time, the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) came here 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, NHIS promised to sponsor any kid below age of 5 through a partnership program with us”.

A State-of-the-arts Heart Surgery Machine

Professor Adeleke however said the help is good enough but can’t take care of the entire process “The synergy is not really covering everything because each of the surgery we carry out, if we are to use the new exchange rate, probably it will go for a minimum rate of N3.5 million. But per child they (NHIS) promise to pay N1.5 Million and we agreed that the relations of the victim will add up N500, 000.00 which will give us N2million for such operations which is still far down our actual cost. 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”.
Kamar who said his organization want to help as many Nigerians as possible said even though NHIS is ready to help raise bill to save a heart challenged child of age 0 to 5, his organization is taking the save-a-child’s-heart campaign further “In responding to the issue of raising funds and all that, we decided to establish a foundation called Tristate Heart Foundation. Tristate Heart Foundation has prominent Nigerians on board. The goal of this foundation is to serve as a palliative body for the benefit of those  ordinary Nigerians who need emergency heart surgery; to help use the funds we gather get them 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 concerned and kind hearted individuals, it may come from NGOs but the fund will help them to earn the treatment”

A Multi-million Dollars State-of-the-arts Heart Facility inside the Center

On how the foundation will succeed, Professor Kamar added that “We have already incorporated the Tristate Heart Foundation and we have already had our first meeting. We have eminent Nigerians on the board. Our Chairman is Chief Bisi Akande (Ex-Governor of Osun State and former Interim National Chairman of APC). Other personalities on the board of the foundation include Channels Television founder John Momoh; we also have Chief Michael Sanusi the former CBN Governor. We have (Alhaji) A.B. Mahmoud, he is a veteran legal expert and the new President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA). We also have Professor Temitope Alonge on the board the CMD of UCH (Ibadan) and Mrs. Roberts who is a prominent lawyer in Ibadan. We have Professor Makinde; he is the former Vice Chancellor of Babcock University. And I am on the board as well”
He hinted that the board is going to be having a fund raising dinner soon. “One of the things we are trying to do now is to organize events where we can propagate our dream and intention. We are going to have what we call the black tie fundraising dinner which will take place in Lagos. I believe we tentatively have September to put the event together. The Black Tie is going to be non- benefit; and the beauty of the Black Tie fund raising dinner is that every penny that we raise is going to be spent on the patient”

The GDA with the CEO, Tristate Heart & Vascular Center, Professor Kamar Adeleke

 Why Nigerians need to check their hearts
Dr. Tosin Majekodunmi who is in charge of Structural Heart Disease at Tristate urged Nigerians especially the elites to always carry out what he calls Cardiac Catheterization. “It is a simple test we do for patients. We have the machines here, an imaging procedure that shows how your heart is working, that is, how well you are supplied by blood vessel and if there are any blockages in the coronary arteries of the heart it will show the blockade”. On how long the procedure works, the London trained structural heart expert said “We test you just for an hour and you don’t have to be put to sleep”. He continued “We have done quite a number of cases. We have several ways of helping our patients. We have what we call the interventional cases and what we call diagnostic cases. We have done 6 interventional cases where we put stems in blood vessels; we opened them up and things like that. And in terms of diagnostic cases, we have probably done about 30 to 40 of them as a whole. Diagnosis cases are where we are evaluating patients who need to go to the theatre so that they can be given maximum treatment under good procedures. And it is a very important thing to do because the risk of when they get on with treatment depends on a lot of the factors that we take note of before they enter the theater.

The GDA in a rare pose with Professor Kamar Adeleke and his team of Heart Doctors at Tristate

So, you need to check if the pressure in the lung is too high or there is a blockage somewhere that you need to deal with. Some of these things can create crisis for the patients and we need to do it before they go to the theatre. It is a very important procedure because like we mentioned earlier, our patients travel all over the world. They go to places; part of the problem is that patients who have not been thoroughly evaluated are suddenly brought under the pressure of the surgeon’s knife. But here, one of the things that we are very lucky to have with us is the professional ability to investigate a patient thoroughly before he is allowed into the theatre.  It is important to carry out all the necessary health checks on your patients to ensure they are fit for operation.  We have done 75 vascular cases from January 2014 when we started at UCH, Ibadan till date. Yes, of all the 75 cases, we did well with 93%. We had cases of children with hole in the heart and adults with blocked arteries within the heart. For now, I think we are about the best center in the country that gives solution to most of the blocked arteries in the heart”.

A Cross Section of Medical Valves for Heart Surgery

Why Kids suffer Heart diseases
On how to prevent congenital heart diseases which leads to death of children with holes in the heart and rampant in Nigeria, Dr. Majekodunmi said. “It is a standard knowledge around the world that one percent of every child born could have a congenital heart disease. Some of them can get worse with time while some of them can close naturally. But one out of hundred percent births will have a hole in the heart. Some of them may close by themselves but not all of them. If like a hundred thousand children have a hole in their hearts, maybe thirty percent of them may close by themselves which is a significant number but the rest will need an intervention”

The GDA storms Tristate Heart & Vascular Center, Ilisan Remo

Why the Problem persists in Nigeria
 Professor Kamar took it from where Dr. Majekodunmi stopped and gave an in-depth enlightenment on why many babies suffer heart diseases. Hear him “The major problem is that Nigeria is not even diagnosing everybody, we need to diagnose hundred percent and we are not doing this. The awareness is not there. In the United State of America if a baby is born today, I can guarantee you from the time of pregnancy and even before the baby comes they already know what could harm the baby, from pregnancy. Now, we are actually doing surgery intra-uterine, we do the surgery, leave the baby there so that the damage is not done before the baby is born because the baby’s heart is form and completed at six weeks gestation. That is why with pregnancy, you need to really get rid of any bad habit you indulge in long before you even get pregnant so that your baby’s total health can be guaranteed for the next nine months. So, we are now at the level that we can do anything intra-uterine. At least, from day one of life, you need to diagnose the baby. But how many of Nigerian hospitals have this facilities and the orientation?.  What we are doing is self prevention because some of these children have died within a week of birth. Some, within a year because they were not diagnosed in time or even before birth”.

The Tristate Atmosphere at Ilisan-Remo

How Government can stop cardiovascular deaths in Nigeria
In his own word Dr. Michael Sanusi, an adult and Paediatric surgeon at Tristate want Government to come up with a policy that will guarantee the life of the average man on the street in the case of a heart illness. He advocated a long and short term solution process. On the short term he said “I think in the short term Government both at state, local government and national level could help to sponsor patients who are victims of heart illness. Government can provide sponsorship for these patients to have their operation successfully”.

At Tristate, the Doctors do the Operation, but Christ The Healer does the healing

He spoke on the long term process “On the long term, government should promote and establish a health insurance scheme for the citizen. Government should ensure that every single Nigerian has medical insurance for both the good and bad days. For government to achieve this there must be a legislation to back it up. We need a law from the National Assembly to enforce every Nigerian to either pay N1000, N500 or N250 every month into a certain health security account.

Professor Kamar Adeleke sharing a joke with the GDA & Others

This pool of fund will serve as security for those who need emergency heart surgery or any other debilitating situation that warrants such amount of money. Out of 100% of Nigerians, 5% will always fall sick; this insurance will serve as emergency fund. Of course, everyone must pay a certain amount at the end of every month. Both the ill and the healthy ones so that when a taxi cab owner who has no huge savings in his bank account  is ill and need a heart surgery, we can always take from this pool of funds and take care of the person. We have situations where even high grade officers like Professors are ill and they need emergency treatment and there is no funds to prosecute the treatment and in most cases, this people die. In all advanced countries of the world, health insurance policy is an integral part of social engineering.  Not all the time you will expect the population to be ill but for the few who are ill from time to time, a strong health tax policy will help them. A national health insurance policy will serve as a lasting panacea. Now, I learnt government is trying to sponsor kids from 0 to 5 years, I mean kids with hole in the heart, but we can do pretty more than that. All we need in Nigeria is a national health insurance scheme and the rest will be history”
The GDA and Professor Kamar Adeleke inspecting the facilities
(You can reach Tristate Heart & Vascular Center for Consultation on +234 701 875 7530, +234 807 401 2039, +234 807 100 0900, +234 807 100 0070, or write

Gbenga Dan Asabe

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