On behalf of the entire management and staff of the University of Nigeria teaching Hospital Enugu, we are proud to announce the celebration of this RUBY Anniversary of Open Heart Surgery of the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, Enugu.The first open heart surgery carried out on 01 February,1974 was the first not only in Nigeria but the entire Sub-Saharan Africa (except South Africa).

That epoch making event carried out by our indigenous staff with the support and collaboration of a renowned Heart Surgeon, Sir Prof. Magdi Habib YACOUB remains green in our memory, forty years after.
This Brochure contains a historical perspective of the journey so far as concerns open heart operations.

A Daily Times of Nigeria clip of 04 February, 1974(attached)aptly describes the excitement expressed by all Nigerians when the first open heart surgery was done in Nigeria on that fateful day(01 February 1974) and the second case done the next day,02 February,1974.

We are grateful to the Federal Republic of Nigeria for their support these past decades that has led to the establishment of a centre in Nigeria, comparable to any such institution globally.

The Federal Government had, in appreciation of the pioneering role of our Institution in this area of Cardiac surgery designated our Institution as a “National Cardiothoracic Centre of Excellence for Cardiovascular Surgery and Medicine”. Since that declaration over three decades ago, our Institution has been striving to live up to expectation amidst tremendous challenges. One of those challenges was the relocation of the UNTH to her permanent site where no infrastructural facilities existed for open heart surgery. We thank the FGN for coming to our rescue and approving dedicated Cardiac Centre structure at our permanent site. The building is under construction.

The UNTH did not relent in their bid to maintain services and readily provided an alternative sitting of the NCTCE at the UNTH Permanent site. The University of Nigeria quickly responded by releasing appreciable funds to provide infrastructural facilities to ensure that these cardiovascular services were not interrupted. Some Nigerians in the Diaspora also bought into this concept and came to help.

The VOOM Foundation USA under able leadership of Dr.Vincent Ohaju deserves mention. They were followed immediately by the “Save the Heart Nigeria” (Belfast, UK) under the leadership of Dr. O C Nzewi.These collaborators have committed immense human and material resources to ensure the success of these programmes and are greatly commended.

With the collective efforts of the Federal Government through the Ministry of Health, the University of Nigeria, and our collaborators, our Institution has now bounced back to action. Our foreign collaborators have since March 2013 had six missions.

They have also provided huge human and material resources. Our local Team has also independently been carrying out cardiothoracic surgical and cardio logical activities.

We particularly thank the FGN through the Ministry of Health for their commitment. We believe they would in their capacities continue to support our centre.

Dr Christopher C. Amah

Chief Medical Director


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