By S. U. Thoronka.
A team of Cardiologists from India, Germany and the United States of America under the auspices of Choithram Memorial Hospital, Hill Station has performed successful heart operations (free of charge) on patients diagnosed with heart related illness.
The Senior Cardiologist at the Government Connaught Hospital, Freetown Dr. James Russell who facilitated the programme, in his opening remarks at a press briefing held at the Choithram Hospital conference hall, expressed delight over what he referred to as a history making event.
He said they were happy to witness the transformation by Pacemakers implanting heart operation to the people of Sierra Leone free for the first time.
According to Dr. Russell, a total of fifteen patients were screened and nine of these patients were diagnosed but that none of them could afford the cost involved for the service rendered which was USD1500, as a result, “they were subsequently declared eligible for free medical operation”.
Feeding of the patients, medication and other expenses Dr. Russell said were incurred by Choithram Hospital.
Mohamed Kamara, 68 years and Aminata Mahoi 67 years have both undergone successful heart operation as of yesterday and are gradually responding to medication.
Dr. Russel said this operation could have cost the patients nothing less than USD20,000 each outside Sierra Leone. He maintained that through the collaborative effort of Choithram Memorial Hospital scientific equipment were installed by the hospital for the conduct of the successful operation.
One of the consultant medical doctors confirmed that the equipment provided by the hospital were not in any way different from those used in the United States of America for the same purpose.
Dr. Russell further noted that beneficiaries of the Pacemakers programme which started in 2013 were mainly East African countries. He said not too long ago at a conference hosted for Cardiologists, he took the opportunity to push forward a case for Sierra Leone to benefit from the programme and it was granted hence the quick response that saw Sierra Leoneans now being part of the programme.
According to Dr. Russell this programme would henceforth reduce the number of heart attacks that eventually lead to sudden deaths amongst Sierra Leoneans because they could not afford the high cost of medication outside Sierra Leone.
In addition to performing heart operations, Dr. Russell said the consultants would also offer free training to our young medical practitioners in the medical profession.
The three consultants are Dr. Balasundaram Lava (Founder and Director), Dr. Kumar and Dr. Craig Allmendiuger.