Stories of Impact

Imagine the world where people get the help they need, when they need it the most. We strive to achieve that vision every day.

Program Provides Open Heart Surgery In Nigeria

Tile for Program Provides open Heart Surgery in Nigeria-min

By Kaitlyn Nuebel

Chimbuchi was four months old when he had open-heart surgery at Dame Irene Okwuosa Memorial (DIOM) Hospital in Nigeria in November, 2022. As the world starts a new year, he will start a new life – one that wouldn’t have been possible without the surgery.

A grant from Brother’s Brother Foundation helped fund the two-week medical trip to DIOM Hospital. More than 50 medical professionals took part in the trip and were able to perform 25 open-heart surgeries at no cost to patients. Organized and led by the Vincent Obioma Ohaju Memorial (VOOM) Foundation, the trip also introduced hospital staff to an interventional cardiology program; a non-surgical method that uses a catheter to repair damaged vessels, narrowed arteries, and other issues.

VOOM’s medical volunteers included some of the best talent in the world. A Nigerian native, Dr. Agodochi Nwosu from Cape Fear Valley Medical Center in the U.S. led the interventional program; educating and training doctors while completing 12 cardiac catheterization procedures and one pacemaker procedure. Dr. Andrew Goldstone brought his entire team from Columbia/Morgan Stanley Presbyterian Children’s Hospital in New York. Their initial goal was to perform four to six surgeries in one week. However, once they arrived they were overwhelmed by the need. They saw 250 patients by appointment in addition to many other walk-ins who came from areas across Nigeria. In an effort to treat as many patients as possible, several medical volunteers changed their flights and stayed another week. At the end of the two weeks, they were able to complete a total of 14 surgeries. Dr. Shahab Nozohoor and Voom Foundation Medical Mission Director, Dr. Adanna Akujuo, led a team of volunteers from Skaane Hospital in Sweden. Their team was able to perform open-heart surgery on 11 adults.

Twenty-five open-heart surgeries may seem small in comparison to the 500,000 completed in the United States every year. However, according to a 2018 study, these 25 open-heart surgeries account for roughly a quarter of all open-heart surgeries performed in Nigeria annually. With more than half of Nigerians living in poverty, most who need open-heart surgery cannot afford the $11,000 price tag that comes with it. Those who can afford it struggle to find surgeons qualified to operate. As of 2018, only five cardiothoracic surgeons in Nigeria could perform the open-heart surgery without receiving additional instruction.

In Nigeria, a diagnosis of congenital heart disease comes with high stakes. For the 25 people who laid on operating tables at DIOM Hospital last November, surgery provided by VOOM’s highly specialized medical volunteers and funding from BBF has made the difference between life and death. Image

[Twelve-year-old Chikamos arrived at DIOM Hospital with aortic insufficiency and severe mitral insufficiency. Following his surgery he said he was looking forward to feeling better and living life as a normal kid. Chikamos’ mother expressed her gratitude to Brother’s Brother Foundation for providing her son a second chance on life and providing hope to their entire family.]Image

[Chimbuchi, a four-month-old, was the youngest patient to receive open-heart surgery during the VOOM Foundation’s recent mission trip to Nigeria. VOOM’s medical staff report he is doing very well.`]ImageImageImage

[Cardiothoracic surgeon Dr. Reza Khodaverdian trains Nigerian cardiothoracic surgeon Dr. Bode Falase during an open-heart surgery organized through the VOOM Foundation.]