September 2021, Lagos Nigeria - Hammed Afolabi, arrived unexpectantly at First Cardiology Hospital in Lagos, after hearing about VOOM Foundations partnership with the Healthy Heart Foundation/Nigeria to provide free open-heart surgery to patients in need. Hammed is a married indigent with three young children and runs a three-wheel bicycle to support his family. His job is the lifeline to his family’s success.
Hammed and his family live at the airport in Ibadan, Nigeria. His wife sells biscuits to supplement their income. Hammed did not have any means to take care of his health nor could he afford the cost of open-heart surgery.
His heart condition, mitral valve regurgitation has deteriorated over time and he has difficulty performing his job which is essential to the lifeline of his family. When our team first discussed surgery options with Hammed and the need for follow-up blood thinners and routine labs, he felt he had little option as he could not even afford $40 a month for medications and this meant not having the ability to feed his family. Basically, he was left with a choice between his health and taking care of his family.
Due to these circumstances, Hammed might not be a good candidate for surgery because of his inability to afford follow-up care. This decision did not sit well with our medical team as we knew his family would probably not survive without his income. We agonized over what would happen to his children if he did not have this surgery. How would they survive and what would their future hold? How would they eat? After further discussions among our team and the willingness of others to move Hammed and his family forward, partners from both the United States and Nigeria moved into action.
Stepping up to the call, Oakwood Baptist Church in New Braunfels, Texas along with the Healthy Heart Foundation, provided funds for Hammed to receive free surgery.* A local Nigerian cardiologist in Hammed’s hometown of Ibadan agreed to pay for his follow-up testing and medications for his lifetime. VOOM Foundation agreed to financially support his family during his recovery. Industry partners donated heart valves, critical care monitors and consumable supply to effectively treat Hammed and remove patient financial burdens. The Thoracic Surgery Foundation provided a grant financially assisting our medical teams mission efforts to train and educate while serving indigent patients. VOOM medical volunteers give their time and medical expertise to successfully execute Hammed's surgery. Strong partnerships and volunteers perfectly aligned allowing Hammed the opportunity for a future filled with good health and surrounded by those who love him most.
Hammed received open-heart surgery on Thursday, September 23, 2021. His surgery was performed by VOOM cardiothoracic surgeons', Dr. Jeff McNeil and Dr. Ayodele Osasona and assisted by the local surgeon in training Dr. Bode Falase. Hammed spent two days in the ICU and was moved to the step-down-ward just two days after surgery. He was discharged on September 28, 2021 and expected to fully recover.
This is not an isolated story in Nigeria. Nigeria is a country of over 200M in population and almost 50% of the country is impoverished and making health decisions based on financial means. The healthcare system is collapsing as the entire country struggles to keep themselves healthy.
VOOM Foundation investors and partners are what make life possible for Hammed and his family. He will return to work soon and his entire family will have a brighter future because of you. On behalf of the VOOM Foundation board, staff and patients we serve, we thank you for caring for those who have little option. Happy Thanksgiving and Happy Holidays!
For more information about VOOM Foundation go to www.voomfoundation.org.
*VOOM Foundation is a 100% volunteer medical team. We do not charge for the cost of surgery as our services are free. Any patient’s costs associated with our patients is related to patient’s pre-op workup, surgical drugs, hospital stay and post-op visit. We sign memorandum of understanding with each hospital to control patient cost and reach out to the medical supply industry to provide consumable supply to lessen patient financial burden.
ABOUT VOOM FOUNDATION
VOOM Foundation is a private international medical humanitarian organization made up of volunteer doctors, nurses, health workers and many other support professionals who contribute to the mission of the VOOM Foundation.
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