The Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH) is set to run the cheapest kidney surgery any government-owned hospital in Nigeria has to offer, with the acquisition of a new lithotripsy machine through donation.
The hospital now has the capacity to provide patients with a technologically advanced surgical procedure that is non-invasive, time-efficient, and particularly low-cost.
Unlike conventional surgeries that require ripping the skin apart, LASUTH can treat kidney stones too large to be flushed through the urinary tract by sending shock waves to the identified stone and crushed into pieces that can be eased out.
The shock waves generated by the machine, lithotripter, travel into the body through skin and tissue to reach the stone. Small fragments are then passed out in the urine for several weeks after the treatment.
Tokunbo Fabamwo, LASUTH’s chief medical director (CMD) said patients might not have to spend more than a night at the hospital to get the treatment.
Being the product of a generous donation to the institution by a concerned individual of high net worth, Idowu Obasa, the CMD vouched that the treatment will come at a low cost.
The hospital used to depend on leasing the equipment from a private organisation to offer the service to patients until the machine broke down, leaving the management stranded.
But by coincidence, Obasa learnt of the challenge and opted to procure a new one for the hospital which cost between N50 million to N60 million, according to Fabamwo.
“The equipment is very costly. We couldn’t afford it. So we went into an arrangement with a private company to use on hire. But it got spoilt and we were no longer able to do the procedure,” he said, speaking during the launch of the equipment.
“That was when Idowu Obasa came to our aid and procured the equipment. In fact, the fee for using the equipment will be a lot cheaper because we don’t have to pay a rental fee to any private company again. LASUTH is the only public hospital that has the machine.”
Obasa, an economist and chairman of Biomedical Limited, the first indigenous company to produce intravenous fluids, said he was inspired by the passion displayed towards services at the hospital.
He also explained that he had used the machine for lithotripsy treatment at an average hospital in India back in 2009. But he was shocked to realise that 13 years after his experience, most Nigerians lack access to such treatment even in tertiary hospitals.
He urged other Nigerians with the wherewithal to follow suit, saying “We need to do more. When I heard and remembered I used that machine, I felt it was something I could do to assist ”.
Akin Abayomi, Lagos State commissioner for health described the move as an impact that will raise the standard of care accessed at the hospital and in the state in general. Beyond treatment, he also hopes the equipment will be useful for research at the college of medicine.