•Sudan and Uganda governments provide financial support for such procedures, Onakpoya says
Government at all levels have been urged to implement an initiative aimed at relieving the financial burden on individuals requiring open heart surgery in the country.
This plea comes from Prof. Uvie Onakpoya, the Head of the Cardiac Surgery Team at the Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospital in Ile-Ife, Osun State.
Speaking during an event commemorating World Heart Day, Onakpoya emphasized that Nigeria is unique in requiring citizens to cover the costs of heart surgery, whereas in countries like Sudan and Uganda, governments provide financial support for such procedures.
He stressed that heart surgery's high cost could plunge vulnerable citizens into poverty, and he called upon the Federal Government, in particular, to devise plans to ensure that heart patients can undergo surgery without incurring any expenses.
According to Onakpoya, no other country in the world mandates individuals to pay for heart surgery, and it is the government's responsibility to safeguard the well-being of its citizens. He further suggested that even if the government were to cover the cost of 1,000 heart surgeries annually, it would only amount to a relatively small sum for the Federal Government.
Furthermore, he praised the performance of public hospitals like OAU and LASUTH in cardiac surgery, asserting their outcomes rival those of hospitals worldwide.