A former Super Eagles star, Kanu Nwankwo, says his dream is to build a state-of-the-art Cardiac Specialist Hospital in Nigeria to help indigent children with heart diseases in the country.
The football legend made the disclosure in an interview in Enugu on Wednesday in commemoration of the 2022 World Heart Day marked every September 28.
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Nwankwo said that if achieved, the centre would fill the yawning gap in the health sector for the treatment of heart-related diseases and reduce medical tourism to foreign countries like India, America, South Africa and the United Kingdom.
“Our dream in the Kanu Heart Foundation (KHF) is to build a cardiac specialist centre in Nigeria to save Nigerians especially indigent children with cardiac ailments but it is not what Kanu can do alone now.
“We need support from governments, corporate bodies and well-meaning Nigerians to achieve it,” he said.
Nwankwo urged governments to channel energy and funds to the health sector, noting that many people died on a daily basis in Nigeria due to a lack of adequate health facilities.
He said that the foundation had sponsored over 600 heart surgeries between 2000 and 2022 with 80 per cent of the operations done in India.
According to him, “as I am talking to you, we have over 200 children on the waitlist for treatments. However, I am happy to say that 99 per cent of the surgeries done so far are successful.
On World Heart Day, Nwankwo said that activities had been lined up in commemoration of the day which would be celebrated in the Enugu State capital.
The Kanu Heart Foundation was established in 2000 by the footballer to help underprivileged African children and young adults living with different heart issues obtain medical attention.
The former Super Eagles captain had heart surgery in 1996 to correct a faulty aortic valve which prompted him to set up a foundation to treat undiagnosed heart diseases and provide surgeries for indigent African children and young adults. (NAN)