In line with the implementation strategy of the National Surgical, Obstetrics, Anaesthesia and Nursing Plan (NSOANP), 144 Nigerian medical doctors are currently being trained on basic life support and paediatric advanced life support.
The NSOAP development process is founded on six core domains adapted from the World Health Organisation (WHO). The process replaces access to essential medicines with surgical infrastructure and places the medicines required for surgical care, such as anesthetic agents, within care delivery itself.
The four-day training, which is taking place across the six geo-political zones of the country, is aimed at providing healthcare workers with the necessary skills to provide basic life-saving intervention to anyone who collapses suddenly, experiences a cardiac arrest or heart attack.
While declaring the training open, Smile Train programme director for West and Central Africa, Mrs. Nkeiruka Obi, explained that Smile Train’s intervention was to ensure that the NSOANP programme is actualised.
“Smile Train has given life to the NSOANP Nigeria project. We have signed a MoU with the federal ministry of health for implementation of the NSOANP. We also have a partnership on cleft e-registry platform aimed at mapping out patients with cleft to enable them have access to free and quality care.
“There is need for us to equip our healthcare professionals with basic life-saving skills that meet the needs of under-served communities”, she stressed.
The co-chairperson for NSOANP, Prof. Emmanuel Ameh, explained that NSOANP is a policy programme of the federal ministry of health.
He maintained that the ultimate goal of the plan is to scale up access to safe and timely surgical care for the population.
“The ministry created the NSOAP committee which is working with surgical providers to improve professional capacity in life support skills.
We are now at the level of implementation, we are gradually beginning to implement NSOANP using various entry points and Smile Train is supporting in several aspects of the implementation.
“The current activity that we are deploying is to provide life support skills to surgical providers.
“We are hoping that once we saturate our hospitals with these skills, we will begin to gradually expand it to other segments of our population, such as teachers in schools and down the line to students”, Prof Ameh stated.
On her part, the administrative coordinator for the training and consultant anaesthetist, Dr. Aderonke Obisesan, hinted that the ultimate goal was to ensure that the trained doctors will be adequately empowered to train others in life saving skills.
Also speaking during the training, one of the lead instructors, who is also an anaesthetist with the Federal Medical Centre, Katsina, Dr. Ibrahim Salisu, explained that the training was very important, considering the number of people that suffer cardiac arrest without those around them knowing what to do.
Another Anaesthetist with the Federal Medical Centre, Abuja, Dr. Gabriella Ekwem, said the doctors learnt skills involved in resuscitating a patient, as well as the essentials of early recognition and prompt intervention, which are very key in life-saving procedures during emergency situations.