The University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan, Oyo State on Monday successfully carried out its first open heart surgery to correct a leaking heart valve in a 19-year-old secondary school leaver.

The surgery which lasted about four hours was the first to be performed by any teaching hospital in Nigeria. It was carried out by the hospital in conjunction with a team of surgeons from Tri-State Cardiovascular Delaware, United States of America, led by Dr. Kamar Adeleke.

The Chief Medical Director (CMD) of the UCH, Prof. Temitope Alonge, noted that the hospital was moved to embark on the exercise as a way of alleviating the hardship being experienced by Nigerians who had one heart related problem or the other.

According to him, UCH being the first teaching hospital in Nigeria should take the lead in critical areas of medicine and that this propelled him into ensuring that a surgery as complex as an open heart surgery took place in the hospital.

“We are the pioneer teaching hospital in Nigeria, and we should be taking the lead. We are going to do this and we intend to make it a continuous exercise. In fact, within the next six months, we intend carrying out not less than 30 heart related surgeries and at a price that will be easily affordable to Nigerians,” he said.

He observed that Nigerians pay exorbitant prices to undergo such procedures outside the country. “The cheapest rate outside Nigeria is about N2.5 million. This is outside the airfare and hotel bills. But with us here, it will be a lot cheaper and the access is there. The first surgery is heavily subsidized as a way of encouraging Nigerians to have confidence in our healthcare system.”

He stated that the Federal Government had given the hospital a mandate to improve on the training of doctors as a way of enhancing more access to adequate healthcare in Nigeria, adding that with the mandate, the era of Nigerians travelling abroad for treatment would be a thing of the past.

Adeleke noted that the patient would be back to his normal life activities in less than two months.