With its first kidney transplant successfully performed last week, Afe Babalola Multi-system Hospital in Ado-Ekiti Ekiti State is gradually carving a niche for itself as a centre of medical excellence. Associate Editor ADEKUNLE YUSUF reports that, with the achievement in this specialised area of medicine, Nigeria would, any time soon, save the billions of Naira she has been spending on medical tourism.
At almost became a moribund case, but it ultimately ended in praises. The patient, who came entirely on his own to Afe Babalola Multi-system Hospital in Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State capital, on April 12, had been critically ill since February-almost at the point of death.
The procedure was carried out on the 46-year-old man, who is a player in the country’s ever-dynamic entertainment industry (name withheld), having been diagnosed to be hypertensive as far back as 2017 and had not been passing urine in the last six months as a result of which he had difficulty breathing. He also required regular dialysis to keep him alive.
Before coming to Afe Babalola University Ado-Ekiti (ABUAD), the top celebrity who did not want his name in print had spent quality time in a health care facility in the state where he was treated. But the treatment was truncated by an industrial action, which made it impossible for him to continue his dialysis procedure.
However, out of sympathy for his critical condition, one of the doctors at the facility gave him two options: either to proceed to another health care facility in Ekiti or better still, to go to India for kidney transplantation.
Convinced that there was no need to go as far as India, another doctor advised the patient to try ABUAD hospital with the assurance that if the patient took to his advice, the patient would not come back to the earlier facility because of the quality of equipment, personnel and service available at the new teaching hospital.
When the patient got to ABUAD in April, he was impressed with the way he was attended to after which he proceeded to make enquiries about kidney transplantation in ABUAD, a teaching hospital that commenced operation about three-and-a-half years ago. Pronto, he started looking for kidney donors, but he was not immediately lucky to get one.
His words: “When I brought the first prospective donor, he was found not to be fit to donate. I then brought in the second prospective donor. Again, he was found not to be fit. Then I brought in a third, my brother-in-law (name withheld).
“After all the screenings, the third prospect was found to be fit. We were all happy and convinced that we were getting a solution to the problem. It was then the series of a counselling sessions for us both, the donor and recipient, began. We were severally counselled.”
Dr Stephen Olawale Oguntola, the Coordinator of the Transplant Programme and Lead Nephrologist with the ABUAD Multi-System Hospital noted that “the transplant was done simultaneously on Wednesday, October 13, using a dedicated twin-transplant theatre right here in this Hospital, thus making it the first successful kidney transplant in Ekiti/Ondo axis of the country.
“The kidney function started improving right inside the theatre with the new kidney producing 2.3 litres of urine before the end of the surgery, which lasted for five hours, 15 minutes. Thereafter, the kidney function has continued to make a sustained improvement.
“We are very happy about the way both the donor and recipient have responded to the procedure. Both of them are in very high spirits. In fact, the donor was discharged on October 20 and with the look of things, the recipient will be discharged in a couple of days to start his normal life after the transplant.”
The consultant nephrologist, thereafter, called on members of the public to avail themselves of the facilities and equipment available in ABUAD Multi-System Hospital, stressing that “ABUAD is an enclave of endless possibilities.”
Narrating his experience, the lucky patient who had been to the Indian Embassy thrice but could not get a visa because of the COVID-19 pandemic was full of gratitude to ABUAD and the medical team that attended to him.
“When I got here for the first time, I was surprised that a lawyer could put in place a gigantic hospital such as this. At some point, I asked myself how a lawyer could think of this type of thing for humanity. This has endeared me to him the more. But for him, I would have died.
“The equipment here are unparalleled. The Dialysis chairs here are very comfortable. When you sit on them, the next thing for you is to quickly fall asleep. The workers are warm, nice and caring.
“My prayer for Baba Afe is that he should live longer. If we have more people like him in this country, things would be better. Aare Afe Babalola is comfortable. He just wants to help humanity. He is a good man.”
The patient, who was throwing banters with people around, expressed appreciation to his brother-in-law, who, according to him, did the unimaginable by donating his kidney for him to live.
“It is only those who genuinely love others that can do what he did. I have since been sharing my pleasant experience with people that ABUAD Multi-System Hospital is the place to be. I have been referring people here. I advise people with kidney problems to make their way to Afe Babalola Hospital. This place is better and it is not as expensive as people think. And in any case, what can be more expensive than a man’s life?”
Commenting on the successful kidney transplant, Babalola said: “This is a milestone for ABUAD, but I am not surprised because we have quality equipment that are not available in most parts of Africa. No wonder then that major health stakeholders have acknowledged our hospital as the best well-equipped in sub-Saharan Africa.
“It gives me immense joy because we have succeeded in convincing people that nothing is impossible here. Our prices are affordable. We have the equipment and well-trained and experienced personnel. There is, therefore, no need for anyone to go abroad for any treatment whatsoever. Anything and everything can be done here. I am happy that my dream of having a functional university has been realised before my very eyes,” he said.
The above was not the first medical achievement recorded by ABUAD. In March this year, it also scooped another feat in abdominal surgery with the successful procedure on the first Endovascular Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm (EVAR) in Nigeria. The procedure, which was undertaken by the hospital, was carried out by a multi-disciplinary team of experts at the institution, led by Dr Hammed Ninalowo and assisted by Dr Yemi Johnson and Dr Dave Dhiren on a patient with an abdominal aortic aneurysm.
In another successful open-heart surgery in May, ABUAD had carried out an open heart surgery on a female patient, during which a large mass was removed from the left side chamber of the patient’s heart. The lady, who developed sudden breathlessness from a condition known as ‘left atrial myxoma,’ was brought to ABUAD where she was treated as an emergency.