Posted by RegentAfrica Times on January 8, 2020
A conjoined set of twins that had one liver, a protruding tummy, and a lower chest were successfully separated, in a 12-hour surgery involving 78 medical personnel, at the National Hospital in Abuja.
Speaking during a briefing held to announce the successful operation, the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, said the feat was an indication that Nigerian hospitals were ready to compete with the best in the world. The twins were both delivered at the Federal Medical Hospital, Keffi, Nasarawa State before they were referred to the NHA.
The minister said, “This is a demonstration of excellent teamwork, which also shows that with confidence in the health sector, we can do great things in Nigeria. “One of the reasons why some Nigerians travel abroad for treatment is because they lack confidence in the health sector. They believe that we do not have specialists and the required medical equipment to handle to handle sensitive cases, but this case has shown that we have the expertise. No foreign aid was involved in the surgery.
“The ability of these experts to work together means that we can stand up to many international hospitals, as far as advanced surgery is concerned. This is a complex one involving conjoined twins with one liver.”
The leader of the team that performed the surgery, Prof Emmanuel Ameh, who was the Chief Consultant Paediatric Surgeon, Prof.Emmanuel Ameh, said the operation which lasted for more than 12 hours, comprised of 78 medical personnel.
Ameh, however, said that the twins’ growth and development would continue to be monitored.
On her part, the Minister for Women Affairs, Mrs Pauline Tallen, while commending the medical team, assured the parents of automatic employment for the unemployed mother in the Federal Civil Service.
While addressing newsmen in Abuja, the Chief Medical Director of the Hospital, Dr Jaf Momoh, said the twins were conjoined at the chest and abdomen.
Momoh said the twins were delivered at the Federal Medical Centre, Keffi, Nasarawa State on Aug. 13, 2018, and were later referred to the National Hospital.
“They have therefore been on admission at the hospital for more than 16 months, for care and several diagnostic procedures for a detailed diagnosis in preparation for the surgery.
“The hospital management decided to fund the care and the entire processes leading to the major surgical procedure for the separation as our corporate social responsibility.
“We therefore, ensured that lack of funds did not stop these beautiful girls from having the opportunity to enjoy their lives independently,’’ he said.
He said, “The cost of running a hospital is enormous. The average electricity bill of the National Hospital is about N19m every month. That is why we collect money. “We took it upon ourselves to mobilise resources and invest it on the twins.
If the parents had the means, they would have gone abroad like some other Nigerians and spent at least an equivalent of N20m in foreign currency. It is cheaper doing the surgery here. We cannot quantify the amount spent on the surgery.”
Mommoh, attributed the success of the operation to the hospital’s medical team, adequate funds, as well as the belief and trust the parents of the twins had in the hospital.
He, therefore called on state governments to invest more in healthcare, which would aide in addressing such medical challenges, improve the sector, utilise available manpower, as well as ensure that hospitals had a specific specialisation.
“So the states need to do more in other to build specialty hospitals or support the existing ones and employ more staff so that we will not be having brain drain.
“They should also provide places for housemanship in their general hospitals so that we will not be having young doctors or health workers roaming the streets for years.
The CMD said adequate funding of the health sector would curb medical tourism, as the health institutions in the country would serve the needs of the people and address all medical challenges.
“I believe we can reverse medical tourism slowly. There will be a time where services like this will be available in many places and if you have to travel abroad, it is because you just want to go.
Responding, father of the twins, Mr Michael Edeh, expressed appreciation to the government, staff and management of National Hospital, as well as family and friends for the support that saved his girls.
This was not the first time that conjoined twins were separated in a similar operation in a Nigerian hospital. On May 14, 2018, a team of surgeons successfully separated four-month-old conjoined twins at the Federal Medical Centre, Yola. Also, the University of Abuja Teaching Hospital on June 11 2018, announced that it has separated a conjoined twins referred to the centre from the St. Mary Catholic Hospital, Gwagalada, Abuja.