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Oluyinka Olutoye - Nigeria needs him

Nigerian doctor who operated on baby “born twice” speaks on healthcare back home

Oluyinka Olutoye has been in the news a lot lately. He is the Nigerian surgeon in the Texas children’s hospital who performed foetal surgery alongside his partner Darrell Cass to remove a tumour from on a baby that was still in the womb.

The mother was 23 weeks and 5 days pregnant when the operation was carried out to remove most of the tumour, with the foetus removed from the womb, operated on and put back in. The baby was born on 6 June and the rest of the tumour was removed when the baby was eight days old.

Olutoye, who was trained at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ife, spoke this evening to a Lagos TV station about how his time in Nigeria showed him that there were many talented surgeons in the country. He bemoaned the fact that there wasn’t the “infrastructural support” to help the talent and human potential in Nigeria.

Olutoye said that it was unfortunate that Nigerian medical infrastructure was not even at the level of countries that are similar in terms of resources and at the same stage of development as Nigeria.

The Nigerian government, via the Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on Diaspora Matters, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, was quick to bask in Olutoye’s glory, sending him a quick congratulatory message. The message “celebrated” his achievement and how his efforts projected Nigeria in a positive light.

However, the message seemed unaware of the negative connotations in other countries benefiting from talented Nigerian surgeons, and the reasons why doctors like Olutoye are not saving lives in Nigeria. Dabiri-Erewa, with her hifalutin title, could not lift herself up to address the points made by Olutoye around the poor conditions stopping talented Nigerian surgeons from fulfilling their potential.

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