Former Minister of Education, Kenneth Gbagi has through his Foundation, spent about N1.5 million on the surgery and treatment of Eloho Ophukomuo, who for years suffered facial disfiguration from the huge tumour on her jaw.
The surgery and treatment was carried out at the Delta State University Teaching Hospital, Oghara.
The amount paid by the Gbagi Foundation covered expenses incurred from imaging diagnostics, laboratory investigations, drugs, blood transfusions, surgical operations, among others.
The surgical feat was performed by a team of surgeons, anaesthetists, nurses and other health workers led by Dr. Mrs Etetafia, a Consultant Oral Maxillofacial Surgeon, who is reputed for doing such difficult cases.
According to the former Minister, the attention of the Gbagi Foundation was drawn to Miss Eloho’s plight, while undertaking the distribution of COVID-19 palliatives sometime last year to needy Nigerians during the nationwide lockdown occasioned by the global pandemic, as part of its humble contribution to society.
Gbagi said, “the lady had been spotted in the crowd amongst those who came out to receive the palliatives in a rural community in Ughelli South LGA, Iwhrekan to be precise.
“On seeing the pictures of the event, I immediately sought the view of the medical community if this was amenable to any form of medical treatment, as I was willing and led to bear the costs.
“Effort was made by my foundation to contact the family, and the girl’s mother, Mrs. Nicholas informed us that Eloho had been suffering from this condition for about 5 years without help.
“Just as we were making inquiries on how to intervene, we got a positive response from the medical experts that the foundation had previously consulted on the girl’s case.
“Thereafter, her journey in search of better health and wellness saw her at the Delta State University Teaching Hospital after some initial diagnostic evaluation at West End Hospital Warri, all on the sponsorship of the Gbagi Foundation.”
On her part, the Consultant Surgeon who undertook the surgical removal of the tumour, Dr. Etetafia said, “the tumour type is ameloblastoma.
“The extensive reconstructive surgery needed has since been done and the patient is responding very well to treatment.
“So far, she’s been doing well. In surgical management of cases like that, there’s room for revisit when needed. But at the moment, she’s very stable.”
“On her facial profile, it will keep adjusting because the healing process is not complete yet.
“I highly commend the effort of the Gbagi Foundation, because the girl’s condition degenerated because of poverty.
“In Maxillofacial surgery, I find that those who have that condition are often very poor and cannot afford the bills by themselves.
“I, therefore, commend the foundation for its kind and humanitarian interventions which has transformed lives like Eloho’s for good,” Etetafia added.