Expert has raised fresh alarm over the rising incidence of heart diseases among children as they are growing up with a greater risk of heart disease than at a time in our history. A study conducted at The department of Paediatrics , Aminu Kano Teaching hospital (AKTH) found that 81 percent of children who were examined over a two-year period had abnormal heartbeats.
According to the study published in the Nigerian journal of Medicine, a total of 108 children , aged between two weeks to 18 years, were referred for echo-cardiographic examination in two- year study period ; of these , 86 had abnormal echo-cardiogram. There were 55 boys and 31 girls , giving a male and female ratio 1:8:1
Congenital heart diseases accounted for 55(62.5 percent )of the studied subjects while acquired heart diseases were responsible for 33(37.5 percent ). Isolated ventricular septal defect(VSD) was the commonest congenital heart diseases. Rheumatic valvular heart diseases were the commonest acquired structural heart diseases .
The researchers concluded that there is an urgent need for the government to establish a well –equipped cardiothoracic surgical centre to cater for these patients either “free or at highly subsidised rates.”
Heart diseases , or cardiovascular diseases , is a general name for a wide variety of diseases , disorders and conditions that affect the heart and blood vessels. Cardiovascular diseases both in adults and children constitute a major public health problem and lead to many deaths. Congenital heart disease refers to a problem with the heart’s structure and function due to abnormal heart development before birth. It is the most common type of birth defect and is responsible for more deaths in the first year of life than any other birth defects.
Some heart diseases that are diagnosed early can be successfully treated before the development of permanent heart damage and complications , such as heart failure and cardiac arrest.
This journey began in England where the first two beneficiaries of the Foundation; Master Oluwatofunmi Okude and little Miss Enitan Adesola, were operated on, at Crown Hospital London in 2000.
The exorbitant high fees charged by London hospitals pushed us to search for new partners in Israel where the Save-a-Child Heart (organisation) opened its door to our relationship with Wolfson Medical Centre in Tel Aviv.
In Israel, many open heart surgeries were performed, and when the number of patients with heart defects began to rise, we started to search for more avenues, with a cost effective price, and the same high quality treatment. This search took us to India where we have many hospitals working with us at present.
In trying to cope with the demanding increase in foreign exchange occasioned by these surgeries abroad, we decided a trial run, by bringing cardiac surgeons and experts to carry out surgeries in our hospitals in Nigeria. The International Children Heart Foundation (Menphis. USA) to come to the University Teaching Hospital Enugu (Nigerian) in 2003. 13 open heart surgeries were performed by a team, lead by Professor Novick and included leading Nigerian doctors in under 10 days.
Despite the loss of three children after the surgeries, we are encouraged by the zeal and enthusiasm with which our Nigerian doctors performed. This is a clear indication that given the right atmosphere, the necessary equipment and infrastructure the procedures currently obtained in India , Israel , and England, these operations can be carried out in Nigeria and the rest of Africa.
The journey to this great signpost has not been easy. We have had to receive those that pass away abroad and see the anguish of their dear ones. Nevertheless, we have had more joy as many celebrate the new lease of life provided to these recipients, to which we give God the Glory. In all, there has been a 98% success rate. Although the Foundation was set up to help children and young adults. we have nonetheless provided medical and surgery assistance to some adults, subject to our set criteria, and availability of resources.
Our partnered hospitals include:Crown Hospital London, Wolfson Medical Centre -Israel, Menphis-USA, Ruby Hall Clinic & Heart Institute- India, MIOT Hospital & Heart institute Chennai-India, Metro Hospital Noida-India, Max Super Speciality hospital New Delhi-India, Salem Centre for Cardiac Surgery Khartoum-Sudan,Delhi Heart Institute New Delhi- India, Fortis Hospital-India, Columbia Asia Hospital New Delhi-India, Vikram Hospital Bangalore-India and UNTH Enugu- Nigeria.
In financing these surgeries the Kanu Heart Foundation has to contend with the huge financial burden associated with open Heart Surgeries and some complex cases.
While fees charged by these countries vary according to degree of cases, meeting up the financial burden has been a very big challenge to the Kanu Heart Foundation.
Here we want to put on record the invaluable contribution of the Founder Nwankwo Kanu who started the Foundation.
We also owe gratitude to various State Governors, Government Agencies, Corporate organisation, Multinationals, Private and Government Schools, the public including market women and other individuals who have been part of this success story with their support. We would not also fail to mention the President of Nigeria and his government, who provided the enabling environment necessary for us to thrive.
The KHF together with our founder and financial inspirator, Kanu Nwankwo organises events and programmes to raise funds. It also solicits financial support from various individuals and corporate bodies to carry out operations.
In our march towards achieving these set goals we have encountered numerous challenges which threatened to abort our vision. But with God on our side our testimony shows the incomparable hand of the creator.
2007 – International Heart Summit with Metro Group of Hospital Noida- India in Abuja & Lagos.
2008 Enugu International Heart Summit with MIOT Hospital & Heart Institute Chennai -India.
2008 Imo International Heart Summit with Metro hospital Noida- India.
2009 Rivers International Heart Summit with Metro Hospital Noida-India & Max Super Speciality New Delhi-India.
2010- Lagos International Heart Summit with Emergency NGO Salem Centre for Cardiac Surgery Khartoum-Sudan.
2010- Lagos International Heart Summit with Delhi Heart Institute New Delhi-India.
2011- Lagos International Heart summit with Max Super Speciality Hospital -India.
2011- Lagos International Heart summit with Fortis Hospital- India.
2012- Lagos International Heart Summit with Columbia Asia Hospital New Delhi-India.
2013- Lagos OPD/International Heart Summit with Vikram Hospital Bangalore-India.
2014- Abia International Heart Summit with Columbia Asia Bangalore-India.
2015- Lagos International Heart Summit with Vikram Hospital Bangalore-India.
The Foundation was launched at Sheraton Hotels, Ikeja, Lagos (Nigeria) in 2000 and it has organised series of events aimed at raising funds for the Foundation. These include, fundraising dinners in London, Charity football matches in London and Nigeria, and Independence Day (Nigerian) celebrations in London (UK).
In Nigeria, we have had the privilege of organising events like Brazil U-17 vs. Nigeria U-18 team Soccer match, Nigeria U-20 vs. Turkey U-18 national team, Super Falcon vs. Arsenal Ladies of England, Children in Need Programme, KHF lottery Launch, Open Heart Surgery by visiting 20 USA surgeons at UNTH Enugu, May 27, 2004 Children day Celebration at Eko Hotel and Suites, Celebrating a new heart Symposium. Sing 2 da hearts musical Concerts, International Seminar, Abuja and Lagos.
We have also played a fund-raising match for heart patients from the Niger Delta State in Warri Delta State. We also commemorated 2016 United Nation World Heart Day in Lagos where our Founder led his famous friends on the 3 km heart walk.
The number of unattended cases is on the rise. There are about 300 patients in our waiting list.Some die before help can reach them.
Life’s most persistent and urgent question is,
“What are you doing for others?”
Martin Luther King Jr.
We welcome International donor agencies to come to our aid to tackle this life threatening disease that claims the lives of many children and adults in Africa each day.
The goodwill generated by those who donate for this life threatening open – heart surgeries cannot be over emphasized as we owe gratitude to the Almighty God, the teaming Nigerians, Africans and Europeans, corporate bodies, government and various Agencies that have identified with this humanitarian venture of saving lives.
By facilitating KHF in putting back smiles on the faces
of indigent Nigerians suffering from Heart problems,
your name will be written on the KHF Cardiac centre’s
Hall of Fame
The Foundation writes its success story through the numerous lives saved. KHF has had over 538 heart surgeries at an outstanding 98.5% success rate.