KATH performs first open heart surgeries

The Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH) in Kumasi has recorded a significant historical feat after successfully performing its maiden open-heart surgery at the weekend. Four children underwent successful open-heart surgery on Sunday while another batch of four are having their turn today.The patients, aged between 1 and 8 years, are all in good condition. The surgeries were performed by a team of cardio thoracic surgeons from KATH and the Boston Children's Hospital of the Harvard University in the USA.It was under the auspices of the Variety Children's Lifeline, a Boston based NGO that provided medical equipment and consumables worth one million dollars towards the programme.Dr Francis Fynn Thompson, a Ghanaian Cardiologist at the Boston Children's Hospital, led the team.Dr Anthony Nsiah-Asare, Chief Executive of KATH, told journalists in Kumasi that the successful operations, which were conducted free of charge, were a step towards the eventual establishment of a paediatric heart centre and the second cardio thoracic centre in the country to cater for the northern sector.He said 45 children were screened but 8 were selected for the surgeries and the rest would be operated upon during the second visit of the team in March.Dr Nsiah-Asare said apart from the surgeries, the team was also training their local counterparts in modern cardio thoracic techniques to build their capacity and equip them so as to be able to manage the proposed centre. He said within the next two years KATH would be operating a full-fledged cardio thoracic centre and thanked the team for the assistance.Dr Nsiah-Asare said a Ghana Paediatric Heart Fund would be launched on Friday as part of a global drive to solicit for resources to establish the centre and the provision of free heart surgeries for children in Ghana.Dr George Ofori Amanfo, A Cardiac and Intensive Care Specialist and member of the team, said the goal was to help the patients and also train doctors and other health workers towards the establishment of the second cardio thoracic centre in Ghana 16 Oct 07

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