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Nigerian Woman Emerges First Female Heart Surgeon In West Africa


A Nigerian woman identified as Ogadinma Mgbajah has made history after becoming the the first female Cardio-thoracic Surgeon In West Africa.

Ogadinma only desired a platform to help people with heart problems, but has ended up emerging West Africa’s first female open-heart surgeon.

According to her, she found out that she might become the first female Cardio-thoracic surgeon in West Africa after her lecturers and examiners pointed it out during the course of her training and that had encouraged her to continue.

The intelligent surgeonn a tweet expressed that her training to become a cardio-thoracic surgeon took seven years to complete.

She also noted that her job has taken her to three continents. She wrote: “Very long journey, 7 years plus, three continents! #heartsurgery #first female heart surgeon in West Africa!”

Practicing at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, Ogadinma Mgbajah in an interview with Punch in May, revealed there were competitions, although very subtle, from her male colleagues.

She said:

“I think the society has a way of conditioning women to think that there are some areas that do not belong to them.

“You cannot take away culture from us as Nigerians. We think that there is a limit to what a woman is supposed to do. 

“When you speak to medical students about what they want to do, they start by saying, “well, I’m a woman…” The fact that she is a woman clouds her judgement. She is her own biggest challenge.

“A woman needs to know that all you need to do is identify a problem and ask yourself if you have the capacity to solve this problem. If you don’t, can you build the capacity? If yes, then you go for it.”

Ogadinma Mgbajah conceived and trained all her children during the seven years it took to complete her studies, proving she was a superwoman.

Speaking about the challenges of open-heart surgery in Nigeria, Ogadinma explained that providing for the care is expensive.

“Basically, the challenge with this specialty is because it is very precise. To provide cardiothoracic care is very costly. I am hoping we will get a lot of government support and health insurance to be able to help people who have this problem.”

“Nigeria has very few cardiothoracic surgeons because after the training, people ask themselves if they would actually be able to practise because most of the patients you see don’t have the finance to support themselves.

“A lot of patients are not even aware because a lot of cardiac problems are seen as spiritual attack. A lot of people have taken it as a death sentence when they walk into a hospital and they are told their hearts have failed.

“But there are so much that can be done to give such people a good quality of life,” she said.

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