Social media has been agog with a photo showing a woman in medical habiliment tagged as the Nigerian surgeon who became the “first black girl” to perform a heart transplant within 30 minutes.
According to the social media posters, the lady studied in England on a scholarship gifted by the Labour Party Presidential candidate, Peter Obi. How true is this claim?
A shared tweet last week reads "Chimaka a 20 years old Igbo girl that Peter Obi sends to England on free scholarship grand, has become the first black girl to transplant heart into another human within 30 minutes”.
Obi is a frontrunner in Nigeria's forthcoming presidential election.
Our fact check desk understands that the claim was posted by one of his supporters.
The post received more than 19,000 reactions with “Chimaka” possibly a typographic error of “Chiamaka,” a popular Igbo name in southeast Nigeria.
The post was accompanied by four pictures: that of Peter Obi, a young woman wearing blue medical scrubs, surgeons in an operating theatre, and a heart.
The same post was made on the Facebook page “Igbo Times Magazine” with the same claim.
With the aid of Google Reverse Imaging, we discovered the young woman's shot was published on Dreamstime, a platform specially dedicated to photo distribution, by Ukrainian photographer Andrii Shevchuk.
Shevchuk's post has the caption “Portrait of happy female African American young doctor paediatrician in blue uniform coat and stethoscope with books at hands.”
He also published the photo on a stock photography company website, Shutterstock.
The page, "Igbo Times Magazine," which also made the post on Facebook failed transparency tests.
It was created on July 28, 2022, in the name of “Dr Yusuf Datti Ahmed” - the name of Peter Obi’s running mate.
Recently, the page changed its name to “Dr Yusuf Datti Ahmed ‘Fan Page’” on August 1, 2022, and finally to “Igbo Times Magazine” on October 31, 2022.
The page has also spread notable false information recently.
A Twitter account, "Doctor Candace", also posted three pictures on May 7, 2020.
“The awe of discovering the human body. The honor of being trusted to give advice. The gratitude for helping someone through a difficult illness. These things never grow old.”— Doctor Candace (@lifeofcandace) May 7, 2020
― Danielle Ofri, MD via The New York Times #medicine #femaledoctors #LoveWithoutLimits #lifeofcandace pic.twitter.com/qW21bDqMNM
In January 2013, two-term Anambra State governor Peter Obi awarded a scholarship to a medical student, Rosaline Ijendu, who came out top in her class at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka.
Four other students from various universities, Ezue Cynthia Chinnenye and Muojekwu Angela of Chukwueneka Odumegwu Ojukwu University, Uchenna Nze from Tantian University and Lucy Chidinma of Nnamdi Azikwe University, Awka also benefited from the gesture.
The scholarship was awarded on December 9, 2013, and was worth one million naira.
The Labour Party presidential candidate, Peter Obi did not sponsor a student doctor called “Chimaka”, as claimed by the post.
When the picture was taken, the doctor was based in Ukraine and not among the five students sponsored by Governor Peter Obi at any time.
The claim is untrue. The woman shown in the photo at the time it was taken was a trainee doctor in Ukraine.
My name is Wuraola. I took this picture years ago in medical school. I recently completed my undergraduate program at Ternopil National Medical University Ukraine. My parents sponsored my education. It's hilarious because the man is doing a disservice to Peter Obi. https://t.co/h20CIk6MX6— Doctor Candace (@lifeofcandace) January 8, 2023
The lady has equally refuted either studying in England or receiving funding from Peter Obi. The accompanying images are not anywhere related to Nigeria.
Similarly, that a transplant was ever done in thirty minutes is also false.
According to Yale Medicine, a heart transplant is the “most dramatic surgery done in the operating room.”
It is a methodic and delicate process and the UK’s National Health Service also said the surgery usually lasts “between four and six hours”.
The surgeons seen in the photos were professionals performing a transplant of a heart from a genetically modified pig to patient David Bennett, Sr., at the University of Maryland School of Medicine Baltimore, on January 7, 2022, as confirmed by AFP.
The shot of the heart was published on the Institute of Clinical and Experimental Medicine in Prague (IKEM) website in the Czech Republic.
It also appeared on Wikipedia on October 21, 2019, and was attributed to Korozia45. This name is linked to a Prague-based Slovakian nurse, Maria Soukalova.
Further digging revealed that Soukalova is a registered nurse at IKEM hospital.
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