The Association of Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgeons of Nigeria, ACTSON, has tasked Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, to set up Cardiovascular Centre in the state.
ACTSON which linked the recent cause of heart problem to a surge in environmental pollution, road accident and violence, stated that residents of the state were prone to having cardiac problems because of the effect of environmental pollution and activities of illegal oil refiners.
The body which made the call in Port Harcourt at the end of its 3rd Annual General Meeting at the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital, UPTH, said it was ready to partner the Rivers State Government in setting up an open heart centre in the state.
Speaking, the Secretary of the association, Dr Kelechi Okonta expressed concern over the rate of chest trauma cases they have handled in the past 8 years, adding that the issues of soot, violence makes it imperative for a Cardiovascular centre in the state.
Okonta, who cited States like Lagos, Osun and Ogun as an example of states that have established a functioning open-heart surgery centres via the instrumentality of the respective state governments, called on the Rivers State Government to borrow a leaf from the states, noting that it would also reduce the rate of medical tourism.
He, while noted that setting up a cardiovascular and thoracic facility in the state required huge funding, called on the state government and private bodies to put in efforts in providing the facility and required equipment so as to reduce death resulting from chest traumas and cardiovascular disease.
He said: “Cardiac problem which we think is a white man disease could be found among us. That goes to show that there is a need for us to really develop a cardiac surgical centre.
“Individual states like Osun, Lagos and Ogun, all these states have taken the initiative by establishing a cardiac centre via the instrumentality of the state government which have made it possible. So with our sizable population, the increased incidence of the cardiac cardiovascular and thoracic disease has made it imperative, even when we are talking of chest trauma.
“For a period of 8 years, we have 400 cases of cheat trauma we have managed in this medical facility. So you will now see that there is an urgent need for us to establish a cardiac centre.
“Individuals have fully indicated interest In partnering with us and we are calling on the state government to take it upon itself to ensure there is a centre because setting up such a facility requires huge funding.”
Meanwhile, Dr Uriah Etawo, a former Chief Medical Director of UPTH and the Chairman, Local Organising Committee of the Conference, noted that it was important to set up an open heart centre to save the lives of residents of the state instead of seeking such services abroad.
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