Abuja - The Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu, on Monday in Abuja said open heart surgery had resumed in Nigeria at the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital in Ozala, Enugu State.
Chukwu, who disclosed this during an interactive session with newsmen, said this was part of government’s efforts at improving on health services in the country.
The minister said this was coming after eight years.
"This year we resumed open heart surgery at the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital in Ozala, and we are making efforts to ensure most people do not travel abroad again for medical treatment.
"For eight years we have not been able to do any open heart surgery, but the country has been striving to improve on its health services,’’ he said.
Chukwu said microsurgery of the brain had also commenced in the country at the Federal Medical Centre in Umuahia, Abia.
"For the first time in this country, a microsurgery of the brain was carried out and it was successful. We are going to encourage more of it.
"This is to enable people who ordinarily used to go aboard for microsurgery of the brain to have no need to go outside again," he said.
The minister also said the treatment of bone marrow transplant had started at the University of Benin Teaching Hospital, and that nine hospitals had also started kidney transplant.
Chukwu said government would enhance all efforts at capacity-building for effective healthcare delivery to the people.
He said the country had covered 78 per cent in the area of immunisation of children with polio vaccines, with a view to making Nigeria polio-free.
Chukwu further told journalists that new vaccines, namely MenAfriVac and Pentavalent, had been introduced to reduce child mortality in the country.
He said the country would stop the use of DPT vaccines, used for the treatment of diphtheria, whooping cough and tetanus, by July this year.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that MenAfriVac is a vaccine developed to protect people from the age of one to 29 years of age against meningococcal bacterium.
Pentavalent vaccine is a combination of five vaccines in one, which prevents diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, hepatitis B and haemophilus influenza type B.
Chukwu said the federal government had also concluded plans to review the law establishing the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC).
"This is to make it stricter for offenders and to ensure proper regulation of drugs," he said.
The minister said 51 million mosquito-treated nets had been provided to prevent malaria and make the country free of the disease.
He said the country would by 2016 establish six new hospitals, assuring that many Nigerians would no longer travel abroad for medical treatment when they are in place.