CardioStart Announces Mission to Lagos, Nigeria
September 28th – October 5th, 2019
We invite volunteers experienced in Adult Cardiac Surgery and Cardiothoracic Intensive Care to participate in this integral program-building effort at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital in Lagos, Nigeria.
With nearly 200 million inhabitants, Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa, and Lagos is the most populous city in Nigeria. Including its surrounding metropolitan area, Lagos has the largest population of any city on the entire African continent with 21 million people. Yet nowhere in the country (or neighboring countries) is a well-established cardiac surgical program available. The need to develop centers for advanced cardiovascular care in this region could not be more clear.`
In recognition of this problem, CardioStart and its Board Members have conducted several previous missions at the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital in Enugu, Nigeria, which will continue to be supported toward independence and sustainability. The magnitude of need, however, has compelled CardioStart to expand efforts to the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), and inaugural efforts were successfully undertaken at this institution in 2018.
Lagos is the major hub for international arrivals, and is a coastal city sprawling inland from the Gulf of Guinea across Lagos Lagoon and Lagos Harbour, the main channel connecting it to the Atlantic Ocean. Initially a port city originating on a collection of islands, it is still loosely classified into two main geographical areas – the “Island” and the “Mainland.”
Status of Healthcare in Nigeria
The Nigerian Center for Disease Control estimates that poverty and pollution have reduced national life expectancy to 47 years old, one of the lowest in West Africa. While health officials dispute the number, none dispute the urgency of improving the standard and access to health care in this region.
One problem exists in Nigeria with which no one disagrees: When people here die young, they usually die from diseases that could have been prevented or treated. Westernization of cities like Lagos has led to increasing problems with hypertension, smoking, obesity & diabetes with no correspondent education in preventive cardiovascular care. Rheumatic heart disease remains a formidable problem with aggressive valvular disease and heart failure commonly developing by the late teenage years and early adulthood. There is no consistent cardiac surgery performed anywhere in the country except during missions.
Lagos State University Teaching Hospital
LASUTH emerged from a modest cottage hospital established in 1955 when the need for a tertiary health facility for training of doctors and other allied health care professionals became apparent. The Lagos State Government formally converted the Ikeja General Hospital to LASUTH in July 2001. Despite its relatively young age, it has become one of the foremost teaching hospitals in West Africa, and is perfectly positioned to serve the most densely populated city on the African continent while developing young trainees to provide high standards of care throughout Nigeria. To get a glimpse into the CCU building at LASUTH where we will be working, see this brief video clip: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JvLB1DOEbhc.
The Lagos State Government has been intimately involved in CardioStart’s preparations to support this program in its progression toward self-sustainability. They have insured that the hospital has the proper infra-structure to support cardiovascular surgery, and share our collaborative commitment to provide equal access to care for the indigent.
Team Composition & Volunteer Concerns
The Sept/Oct 2019 team will include the following positions:
- 2 Surgeons
- 1 CV Anesthesiologist
- 1 Scrub/CVOR Nurse
- 1 Cardiologist
- 1 Echo Tech
- 1 Intensivist
- 5 CV ICU Nurses
- 1 Biomedical Engineer
- 1 Respiratory Therapist
- 1 Database/Researcher
This mission will be directed by Dr. Emily Farkas, who performed the first heart surgery in Nigeria in over 10 years in March 2013 at the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital in Enugu with our collaborative partner, VOOM Foundation. Dr. Farkas has completed multiple additional missions in Nigeria and worldwide and is familiar with the local culture and our collaborating clinicians.
Volunteer safety is a very high priority for CardioStart International, and although there has never been a safety incident during any of our missions in West Africa, a dedicated team of Nigerian security staff will be assigned to accompany our team members to alleviate concerns of volunteers or their families. The vast majority of all unfavorable media-attention in the US and UK focus on the Northeastern part of the country, which is many states away from Lagos with a distance similar to the >1000 miles between Miami and Chicago.
This mission to Lagos represents an excellent opportunity for CardioStart volunteers to make a meaningful difference offering real-time skill-transfer, education, technique demonstration, and best practice & protocol implementation to allow LASUTH to safely initiate a program to serve the community which desperately needs their assistance. Over 95% of the people in Nigeria live without essential medical services. This is an opportunity for those of us in a position to effect change to greatly help those less fortunate.
International airfare costs will be self-funded by each volunteer. Flights should be arranged for travel to & from Lagos (LOS, Murtala Muhammed International Airport). Please do not purchase a ticket until you are accepted on the team by written confirmation. Because of the short duration of this mission and complex logistics, all volunteers must arrive in Lagos by 6pm September 28th, 2019. There will be some additional fundraising, teaching and awareness campaigns (highlighting September 29, World Heart Day) starting on September 26th, and if you have the time to participate, this would be extremely helpful to our efforts.
Lodging will be provided in a safe & excellent local hotel within close proximity to the hospital. Volunteers should expect that they may be asked to agree to same-sex room sharing in order to help reduce cost. During the day, meals will be available and provided by the hospital. Evening meals/snacks, etc. are available in the hotel or local restaurants, at volunteers’ own expense. They are generally of a high standard and inexpensive.
Touring attractions and arrangements locally and for other points in Africa can be pursued from Lagos, but must be undertaken before or after the mission.
Beaches line the Lekki Peninsula running east from the city, while inland, the Lekki Conservation Centre offers wildlife and trails. The National Gallery of Modern Art shares a building with the National Arts Theatre, and showcases works by Nigerian artists. Local arts and crafts can be found at colorful Lekki Market, and at private galleries across the city. To the west, the town of Badagry contains sites and museums documenting the town’s history as a slave port, including the Badagry Heritage Museum. North of the center, the life of Lagos musician Fela Kuti is celebrated at the Kalakuta Museum. Lagos is considered by many to be “the Big Apple of Africa” and is famous throughout the continent for its music scene.
HOW TO APPLY:
Please visit our website at https://cardiostart.org/volunteer-interest-form, complete the Volunteer Interest Form and upload your CV/resume. Upon being accepted on the team, you will receive additional correspondence from CardioStart via email with information on how to proceed in submitting necessary paperwork and documentation