Prof. Amadi employs his neonatal rescue scheme in tackling Nigeria’s infant mortality challenge

Prof. Amadi

By Anthony Isibor

THE first time Professor Hyppolite Amadi was shown very tiny new born babies as big as pussy cats, a doctor said to him, “Actually, all these tiny babies you are seeing here may not be here by tomorrow, they will all die.”

The professor, who was both fascinated and confused at the new realization had asked “Why would they die?” For what reason?  And the doctor at the teaching hospital replied, “Because we can’t keep them warm.”

He said, “When they invited me to the Special Care Babies Unit of the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital, I knew they were taking me to where some little humans were, but I wasn’t expecting to see humans as tinny as that.”

“This discussion was the beginning of his passion to think of what to do to help them started and it’s been a journey of 27 years.

The invention; the Polite Heart Sea Park and the other technologies that are associated with it, i.e. the Polite Oxygen Blend and the Polite Oxygen Splita System for which the Professor of Medical Engineering and Technology had won the NLNG 2023 prize for Science, is not only accessible and affordable, but has been able to cut down the price of similar products by half.

The invention, which is already being used in some hospitals across the country, is sold for N750,000 as against N6.5 million.

Although the professor has been able to create a technology that is now capable of solving the challenges faced by new born babies, he still hopes that Nigerian hospitals, the government and all stakeholders will embrace the new invention and give Nigerian babies the chance to life.

Professor Amadi told Realnews that all he requires is for interested investors who also seek to see an end to infant mortality in the country as well as medical professionals and hospitals who will prioritize the life of new born babies.

The Nigeria born Professor of Imperial College, London revealed that the high rate of infant mortality, which is crippling Nigeria, and has brought about a global shame for Nigeria, is a problem that only Nigerians can solve. “If you like, be a friend of the biggest countries in this world. You will remain there for ever until you decide to solve it yourself”

He expressed concern that although he has created the solution to infant mortality, the problem can only be solved if medical stakeholders, including the government have a shift in their mindset.

“It’s like, you have a wife, you come back home really, very hungry, you need to eat food, and then you told your wife that you’re hungry and that you are famished. So your wife said, okay, I’m going to go cook your best food to quench that hunger and then you went to the bedroom and you changed, all right? And then you crash and you begin to sleep, and your wife finished cooking, comes around, tries to wake you up and you refuse to wake up. Now, you are still hungry, not because the food is not there, the food is ready, it is because you have not woken up to eat it, and until you wake up to eat that food, will become a problem of you being hungry, the food being there, but you are not feeding yourself. That is where Nigeria is.

So the babies are not yet saved, there are problems, there are not yet solved, but I have created a solution for the problems. So what NLNG has done is to shout out, the solution is here, let us solve this problem,” he said.

He said that he would only be satisfied when “Nigeria is no longer bearing 846 deaths of new born babies daily”.

“For me, it is not going to be celebration of some award or prize, he said. His worry is that “we have got to save these babies. So we have work to do, is not all the jamborees and every person will go home, babies will still be dying, and Nigeria will still be the top of the list of neonatal mortality in the world. Then the award has done nothing, absolutely nothing. But if we will stand up from this challenge and say we can pull Nigeria out of the bad lists, then we have succeeded in doing something. So I tell Nigeria that this is not jubilation like normal. You are now dealing with somebody with a different kind of mindset.

“Don’t think about any other thing. Think about these babies, that 846 babies every day is not correct. We don’t want it. In my generation before I retire, if Nigeria, if NLNG and the rest of Nigeria will come behind me, well, including the government, I don’t want them to stand on the fence. If before I retire, we will have that number. I know that we are able to bring that number down to, you know, a quarter of it. It is possible. But I’m not asking for too much. If we can bring that number down, I mean, two years’ time, three years’ time, that the demographic report would now say that Nigeria is no longer bearing 846, they are now bearing 430. I can retire, retire happily. And then I will now challenge my mentees that you guys got to finish it up because I will still be on the line giving them troubles. And perhaps before I die, I will see them finish it up.

“What drives me is not money making. What drives me is not a fat bank account, it is not. What drives me is to save lives, what drives me is the number I’m looking at; 846 and I believe that I have got what it takes to bring that number down. But I may not be able to do it as one man.

“I need people to support me. So if you are coming to me and you are focusing on money, you’ll be surprised that I walk away, not saying a word. Because what I have achieved in this country, though the country does know it, yet a lot of people know it even in the federal ministry of health. They know it, but they don’t want to talk about it.

“What I have achieved in this country, as one man, with my little group of people, what I have achieved in this country is enormous.  Let me not put words to it because they all know it is enormous and how did I achieve it. We all know I’m just a university teacher, not in the class of where professors are rich people. I am a university teacher in the contest of “I am rich in knowledge.” Not rich in money, not even interested in money. I want to be remembered by my words of knowledge, not by my bank account.  They are two different things. I have used my knowledge, my intellectualism and how I’m able to organize labour, organize whatever opportunities, no matter how little; organize it to achieve big things. That’s how I’ve achieved it,” he added.

The Professor of Medical Engineering and Technology, who won the NLNG 2023 prize for Science for his Polite Heart Sea Park and the other technologies that are associated with it, i.e. the Polite Oxygen Blend and the Polite Oxygen Splita System, told Realnews that his dream is to see that the rate of infant mortality rate in Nigeria is drastically reduced and that the country embraces the new technology and changes the mindset.

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-November 06, 2023 @ 16:35 GMT |