TREATMENT OF HYDROCEPHALUS IN CHILDREN AND NEUROKIDS/UNTH PARTNERSHIP
By Patrick Okoruwa
PR Unit, UNTH.
The University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, Ituku/Ozalla, Enugu through its Neurosurgery Department is collaborating with the Neurokids, USA, to carry out subsidized neurosurgery for children with hydrocephalus disorder in Nigeria.
According to Prof Enoch Uche, a Consultant Neurosurgeon and the Project Director of Neurokids UNTH Collaboration Centre, while speaking to the Press, described hydrocephalus in
children as “a condition where there is excessive amount of brain fluid which causes the head to enlarge”, he said that it is “a very harmful impairment to the child’s brain development”.
The Neurosurgeon said that this collaboration is made possible by Neurokids, USA under the leadership of Prof. Benjamin Warf of Harvard Medical School, USA and Management of UNTH Ituku/Ozalla, Enugu.
In an earlier interview, Prof. Obinna Onodugo, the Chief Medical Director, UNTH, Ituku/Ozalla, Enugu, expressed his gratitude to Neurokids USA, and Federal Government, suggesting that “more of the efforts are still needed, as much progress may not be achieved if the effort is not sustained, since that’s the practice in civilised countries. He said that UNTH has trained personnels and that there are some equipment the hospital needs to function optimally. He emphasized that this collaboration is a wonderful development that complements the local efforts that are being made in the hospital.
Speaking further, Prof. Onodugo said that the “neurosurgical practice in the hospital for the past three years has been very excellent and is second to none in the country”.
On at what point the government should intervene, the Chief Medical Director said that the government is already doing her parts by granting licence to the expert team from Neurokids to practice in Nigeria within this collaborative period and also granted some waivers to some of the
equipment that was donated to UNTH by Neurokids. He however, called on the government to help sponsor some of the foreign team members who could not sponsor themselves but were sponsored by UNTH. Prof. Onodugo reiterated the need for government to sponsor lots of indigent patients so that they can also benefit from this type of collaboration.
Prof. Onodugo went further to explain that “government support is very critical and that he hoped to engage the Executive Governor of Enugu State, His Excellency, Barr. Dr. Peter Mbah and some indigenes for their support”.
On the success of the mission, Prof. Uche said that two children have been successfully operated on and they are doing very well even as the surgery continues. He said in order to avoid complication and loss of life, endoscopy surgery is carried out on the patients. According to him, “this is a method of surgery whereby we go into the brain with a scope”.
Prof. Uche further told UNTH News that “we are very happy to be the first Centre in Nigeria Neurokids is partnering with to bring this type of treatment to our patients”. Also, he appealed to government to help children with hydrocephalus conditions by making their treatment free. He said many children with this medical condition are thrown away or left to suffer in motherless babies’ homes because their parents cannot afford the cost of treatment. He called on the government to assist UNTH to get more facilities to this centre and make it an International Centre for Child Brain Sugery, this according him, is to complement Neurokids who have donated equipment worth over $90,000.00 (Ninety thousand United States Dollars) to the Centre.
Speaking on Neurokids’ visit to UNTH, Dr. Justin Onen, the Neurokids Project leader to UNTH said that he is “very happy to be in the Centre, which is one of the collaborative centres in the world” Dr. Onen said that the intention of establishing Neurokids is to help the rest
of the world, not only US, to be able to afford neurosurgical cares for children suffering from hydrocephalus condition. He concluded that he sees a very bright future for this collaboration with UNTH.
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