The National Surgical, Obstetrics, Anaesthesia and Nursing Plan (NSOANP), for Nigeria, and Smile Train, have organised instruments repair training for biomedical technicians and perioperative nurses.
Participants for the training were drawn across the six geo-political zones of the country.
Speaking at the training holding in Abuja, a Consultant Anaesthetist with the National Hospital Abuja, Dr. Aderonke Obisesan said the outcome of any surgery has a lot to do with the functionality of the instruments used.
She explained that several factors account for the huge number of patients who lack access to surgical care ranging from manpower, equipment, functional surgical instruments and finance amongst others.
Dr Obisesan who coordinated the training on behalf of NSOANP assured that the waiting time for patients requiring surgery in Nigeria will soon begin to reduce following this training, as more surgical cases can be done per day when surgical instruments are functioning optimally .
According to data published by NSOANP, only 166/100,000 surgeries are performed each year in Nigeria against the recommended volume of 5,000/100,000.
She explained that NSOANP with the sponsorship of Smile Train has embarked on several trainings for all in the surgery network.
“Surgical instrument repair training is one of the strategies adopted by NSOANP to fulfil their goals of ensuring that the surgical needs of all citizens are met. What brought this up was the fact that in 2015 the World Health Assembly mandated all countries to incorporate surgical, obstetric, anaesthesia and nursing into their universal health coverage so it became necessary to have trainings.
“Functional equipment and surgical instruments are part of the determining factors of good outcome following a surgical procedure.
“We are in a limited resource setting, so we do not have the luxury of replacing our surgical instruments all the time. Apart from that, not all blunt surgical instruments need to be thrown away, because in developed countries where these instruments are manufactured, there is provision for point of care repairs. When a scissor is blunt, you can sharpen it.
“We have had cases of cancellation of surgical cases because of lack of equipment and instruments ,so right now that they can repair the ones that they have, the number of surgical cases they will attend to will increase and the reasons for cancelling surgeries will no longer be because of blunt surgical instruments.
“We have two batches for this training; 24 participants from all the geopolitical zones in Nigeria and Smile Train is generous enough to donate the basic tools and equipment they need in carrying out the repairs. So they are going back to their hospitals to set up their work bench and maintain the instruments in their hospitals thus we have a lot to benefit from this training.”, Dr Obisesan noted.
Also speaking, a Biomedical Surgical Instrument Technician, Amanuel Tewelde, one of the foreign trainers noted that training will not only enable biomedical technicians know how to manage surgical equipment but also how to handle them properly.
“The instruments we are training them on are the ones mainly used by surgeons it can be forceps, radio, retractors, bone cutters etc. As you know surgical instruments are very expensive and based on the capacity of African countries it’s very difficult to buy surgical instruments every time they break down. So, this training will help the hospitals to repair and renovate surgical instruments to minimise the cost”, Tewelde added.
For his part, a Biomedical Engineer with the National Hospital Abuja, Idris Obaidu, stressed that the importance of the training cannot be over emphasised as it has exposed them to best practices of handling equipment.
“Before now there are some practices here that were not good enough but after the training we have identified the things that are wrong and done away with them. For instance, we had a tradition of putting all the instruments in a bleach to serve as disinfectant. But today, we realise that bleach is very injurious to some of the equipment so after the training we have stopped that practice so that we can increase the life span of the instrument”.
One of the participants, Patricia Nnenna from Alex Ekwueme Federal Teaching Hospital, Abakaliki, Ebonyi state praised NSOANP and Smile Train for the opportunity maintaining that a well maintained equipment was central to good outcome of surgery.
“A bad equipment will prolong the surgery time and slow the recovery process”.