Surgical ‘Safari’ vs. Educational Program: Experience with International Cardiac Surgery Missions in Nigeria


Braz. J. Cardiovasc. Surg.




Abstract Introduction: In any country, the development and growth of open-heart surgery parallel stable political climate, economic growth, good leadership, and prudent fiscal management. These were lacking in Nigeria, which was under a military rule. The enthronement of democratic rule, in 1999, has caused desirable changes. The objective of this study is to report our experience with foreign cardiac teams that visited the National Cardiothoracic Center of Excellence, University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, for seven years, in order to restart its open-heart surgery program. Methods: To achieve the desired open-heart surgery training, our center received regular and frequent visits from foreign cardiac teams who would perform open-heart surgery with the local team. Results: During the period of seven years, a total of 266 open-heart operations involving both adults and children were performed, with a mean of 38 cases per year; 150 (54.4%) males and 116 (43.6%) females were treated, with a ratio of 1.0:0.8. Six different teams visited the center at different periods. Conclusion: After these years of cardiac missions to our center, the experience of the local team, especially the surgeons, is far from desirable because each team visit usually lasted about a week or two and each team, with exception of the CardioStart International/William Novick Global Cardiac Alliance, adopted the surgical ‘safari’ method.

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