The Vice President of Nigeria, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, has harped on the need for government, development partners, and the private sector to be more empathetic to the plight of vulnerable children.

He made this call during his speech at the first edition of the Saving Little Hearts Gala of Hospitals for Humanity (HfH) held in Abuja on May 27, 2022.

In his address where he was represented by the Chief Physician, Office of the Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Dr Nicholas Audifferen, he commended the giant stride Hospitals for Humanity had made in countries like Haiti, Philipines, Senegal and Nigeria in the areas of pediatric cardiothoracic interventions.

He went further to thank the Founder of Hospitals for Humanity, Dr Segun Ajayi and the entire volunteers and staff for the gift of their time and expertise in saving little hearts selflessly.

“We thank you for the gift of your time, we thank you for the gift of your expertise and we also congratulate you on all the effort to build your cardiac hospital and the laudable efforts of giving free treatment to anyone that goes there… It’s not easy, we know. I applaud you and your team on all the achievements and may God bless you for all the lives you have saved, changed or made better.” He said.

In his remarks, the Convener and Founder, Hospitals for Humanity, Dr Segun Ajayi commended the Vice President’s strong support for humanitarian activities and all the dignitaries present.

Dr Ajayi shared the story of how at the age of 19, he visited Nigeria for summer holidays but had a stomach upset from drinking the local pipe borne water which made him to fall ill. On his admission to one of the best hospitals in Nigeria, according to him, “it unfortunately could not be compared to the worst hospital in the United States.” That was the trigger that led him to start the Hospitals for Humanity towards changing the narrative and helping to develop the health sector in Nigeria.

“Nigeria has a better story to tell. Our Doctors have a better story to share, and it is our vision to do so by being a conduit that would push Nigeria forward in the Pediatric Cardiology sector,” he said.

“Since 2014, we have carried out over 100 open-heart surgeries on children in Nigeria and our goal is to continue that. In the next 2 months, we would be opening the first-ever open heart cardiac center in Nigeria free to all African children,” he added.

Dr Segun Ajayi also called for support from the guests and the general public to support in fighting against congenital heart diseases by providing life-saving surgeries for children.

According to him, “We are working towards supporting 150 children out of the 2000 on our waiting list. On an average, 1 of them dies per week and we want to stop that,” he said.

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