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Friday, October 25, 2013

Medical Tourism Has to Stop

Going by the plans of US-based medical groups and institutions, the days of medical tourism abroad for Nigerians may be coming to an end, LEADERSHIP's correspondent in New York reports. 
Specifically, US-based Nigerian doctors are working with other professional groups in the United States, including the American College of Cardiology and the Association of Black Cardiologists in the US to ensure sustainable cardiovascular care in Nigeria, among other medical issues that propel Nigerians to travel abroad for treatment. 
Dr. Ola Akinboboye who is the President of the Association of Black Cardiologists in the US who briefed the press yesterday in New York on such efforts, also commended the recent successful conduct of an open heart surgery at the University College Hospital, UCH Ibadan. 
According to him the association he leads, and the board of the American College of Cardiology are supportive of the development at UCH, and working to ensure its sustainability not only in Ibadan and Enugu, but at several centers in the country. 
Akinboboye, a New York-based awarding winning cardiologist, who was also recently named the Top Nigerian-American doctor by the Christian Association of Nigerian-Americans, CANAN, noted that “we have to put an end to the current practice of medical tourism for advanced cardiovascular care and make such services available at reasonable cost to our people in Nigeria.” 
In order to achieve that Akinboboye, who himself graduated from UCH noted that “the next frontier is to make these services available on regular basis through skill transfer to cardiovascular surgeons that are based in Nigeria so that we can have advanced cardiovascular care provided by Nigerians for Nigerians.” 
He said given the epidemic of cardiovascular diseases in the country “we need many more cardiovascular surgery centers,” disclosing that there is currently a plan that he and other national and international medical experts are engaged with for another such specialist center in Lagos. 
According to him, “I am personally involved currently in the development of advanced cardiovascular services, including cardiovascular surgery, interventional cardiology advanced cardiovascular imaging and electrophysiology at the Gbagada cardio-renal center in Lagos,” under a PPP arrangement including the experts and the Lagos State government. 
Akinboboye who is also the representative for Africa on the International Board of Governors of the American College of Cardiology, “this fully-equipped, state of the art facility that was built by Lagos State Government will provide the full spectrum of advanced cardiovascular care and should be operational by the end of this year.” 
Congratulating the UCH team he said the news of a successful open heart surgery is a great development. 
Said he: I congratulate the chief medical director Professor Temitope Alonge, Dr. Davies, Dr Adeleke, and the entire UCH community on this achievement. I am very pleased on multiple fronts, first as an alumnus of the College and past president of Ibadan College of Medicine alumni association in the Americas. 
Akinboboye added that “as the National President of the Association of Black Cardiologists in the United States and, I can state categorically that the American College of Cardiology and the Association of Black Cardiologists are very supportive of the development of these programs at UCH and Gbagada and will collaborate with them to foster their growth.” 
The UCH Cardiac Intensive Care, according to the CMD, is a "full cardiac programme with cardiac catheterization of eight adult patients who suffered coronary heart diseases and cardiomyopathies," in June.
Also this month, two open heart surgeries, Miral Valve Replacement, were carried out in a 19-year-old boy and closure of a large atrial septal defect (2.2cm in diameter) in a 10-year old girl.
It is believed that open heart surgery had been performed at the UNTH, Enugu, in 1975 and UCH in 1978 while in 2006, a medical mission from the USA performed some open heart surgeries in collaboration with UCH. Akinboboye disclosed that going forward these would become a sustainable practice in the country.
Source: Leadership News

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