The University of Calabar Teaching Hospital, UCTH, on Wednesday made history by successfully carrying out its first open-heart surgery.
He said: “On September 15, 2021, at 6.43 pm, history was made in our UCTH when the first-ever open heart surgery was performed in our hospital and the patient safely wheeled out to our Intensive Care Unit.
“She had received a Mitral valve replacement following about six and a half hours of surgery. This has been the culmination of two years of hard work, determination, sacrifice, vision and focus at different levels of our hospital. And we must offer sincere gratitude to God and all who worked to make this happen.
“It is the guiding principle of this management to work quietly to achieve the vision and mission of our hospital and reposition her appropriately in the comity of tertiary health institutions in Nigeria. We have driven this agenda by focusing steadily on the 3R mantra and refusing to be distracted. We must appreciate all staff who made this happen openly”, he said.
Ikpeme revealed that the Memorandum of Understanding, MoU, for Open Heart Surgery Missions was signed with the VOOM Foundation sometime around 2015/16.
According to him, things went quiet until the MoU was reviewed with the Foundation in July/August 2019 and UCTH made a commitment to actualise the programme and domesticate open heart surgery in the hospital.
“After two years of sacrificial hard work, doggedness, critical planning and determination against many odds, here we are today.
“We have had to construct a new Theatre Suite using in-house engineering and technical teams. We had to create a multidisciplinary Heart Surgery Team.
“We had to clear 2Nos 40ft containers from Onne Port, Port Harcourt and invest in equipment worth millions of Naira (Heart-Lung machine, Heater-Cooler inter -exchanger system, Cell savers, High-end Anaesthetic Machine, high-end monitors, Defibrillator with Internal pads, Ventilators, digital mobile X-ray system, etc). Hours of work went into this project.”
Prof Ikpeme further stated that the hospital was carrying out those surgeries at 30 percent of their actual cost.