As 2018 was shutting down, Memonah Usman was facing a near-death experience in faraway Zaria, Kaduna state. For months, she had been battling with a heart disease known as stenosis. The illness which led to the malfunctioning of two of her heart valves had come in two forms: mitral stenosis and tricuspid stenosis, thus blocking blood flow into the main pumping chamber of her heart.
Her case eventually got to the ears of the doctors at Nizamiye Hospital, Abuja, and in weeks following, she was taken up and operated upon. While one of the valves was repaired, the second was replaced in an operation that lasted over 6 hours. But that is not the gist, yet: A procedure that the doctors pegged at five million naira was carried out for free. And for all the about one month she stayed at the hospital receiving treatment, not a dime left her purse nor that of her family. It was all for free.
Fatimah Mohammed, Usman’s neighbour who acted as her caregiver all the while, told TheCable they had sought for treatment for Memonah but lack of money was a setback.
“We did not have the money for the treatment, so we were in Zaria. It was while in Zaria that we were communicating with one doctor who said he would talk to one organization helping people like her,” she recounted.
“So after some time, the doctor called me and said he has spoken to the organization and that the grace of God will sort everything. After some days, he came here and said everything had been arranged and that we should come with him to Abuja.”
Usman’s case is, however, not isolated. The hospital, in partnership with the Nigerian Tulip International Colleges Foundation (NTICF), as part of its corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiative has been able to cater to the poor in need of medical attention in its nearly five years of experience. Mohammed Abubakar, its public relations director, told TheCable that the hospital has a monthly practice of carrying out medical outreaches in interior villages in the FCT and its environs, a project he describes as “reaching out to the unreached.”
“The hospital also carries out free cataract surgeries for indigent people; that they will identify not just in Abuja but in other states. We have given out free cataract surgeries to state governments, NGOs, orphans, and different categories of people without means. Including over 50 free to the Kogi State Women and Youth Empowerment Foundation, a pet project of the wife of the Governor of Kogi state.”
The medical outreaches, according to him, are done once every month, and usually extends to schools in hard-to-reach areas, orphanages, internally displaced persons (IDPs) not just in the FCT but in other states.
HOW NIZAMIYE CAME ABOUT
The Nizamiye Hospital is owned by a group of Turkish and Nigerian investors and which have been in operation since 2014, had set out with the sole aim of replicating the medical services obtained abroad in Nigeria.
According to Abubakar, “we as an organization sat and said can’t we bring what is obtainable in Europe and America to Nigeria? And the answer we got was yes. And we set out to work; we travelled to most world-class hospitals in Europe and America and understudied them. This was what gave birth to the Nizamiye hospital essentially.”
And so, on February 20, 2014, former President Goodluck Jonathan commissioned the facility which has since emerged a pace-setter in the country. “Since then we have strived not just to be in operation, but also to ensure that our services compare to what is obtainable in Europe and America,” Abubakar said.
WORLD CLASS ‘IN ALL SENSE’
Following a tour around Nizamiye hospital and interviews with some of the medical personnel. TheCable discovered the hospital is not just ambiance at its best but boasts of rich human resources and advanced medical equipment, including a functional Cathlab, an MRI machine, a CT scan machine, and other advanced medical equipment’s all operated by Turkish and Nigerian consultants. There are about four hi-tech operating theatres, four-bed adult Intensive Care Unit (ICU), incubators for Neonatal ICU, and a well-equipped dialysis centre and others too numerous to mention.
No wonder the hospital is worth about $30 million, according to Abubakar, with an extension of the facility ongoing. As one of its major specialties, the hospital has a towering reputation in open heart surgery. Its open heart surgery clinic is headed by a renowned cardiovascular surgeon from Turkey identified as Dr. Karman, with over 30 years’ experience and credited with “over 15,000 open heart surgeries” in Turkey in addition to 30 in Nigeria, five of them involving valve replacement while 25 are coronary bypass surgeries – all at “99 percent success rate.”
“The open heart surgery team of the Nizamiye hospital can boast of some of the best hands in cardiovascular surgeries. Ours is a combination of expertise, experience and the fact that the team is resident in Nigeria within the hospital premises and operate on a 24/7 basis,” Abubakar said.
Also, the hospital cancer surgeon also says he has a wealth of experience with over 25 years of active service and over 1000 laparoscopic surgical procedures to his credit.
Interestingly, all the clinics at the hospital are operated by consultants. And, according to Abubakar, there are currently about 220 Nigerian staff on its payroll. He also said the facility boasts of over 20 expatriate consultants from Turkey, Nigeria, Egypt, and India – all renowned in their various fields.
“I think we are about the only hospital with neonates’ ICU with mechanical ventilators in Abuja. And we have about 6 of such. There is also neurosurgery, orthopaedics, general surgery, ENT, Head and Neck Surgery, Anaesthesiology & Reanimation, Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Dermatology and many more. I think the Nizamiye hospital can compete with any hospital in Europe and America.”
In all these, the hospital maintains its monthly outreach programme. For a hospital whose motto is “compassion and trust,” the reason is not far-fetched. “Nizamiye hospital has not only business understanding,” Abubakar said. “We want to give back to the society what we earn from it. And for each medical outreach, the minimum spent is N5 million.”