‘Nigeria has 350 orthopaedic surgeons for 170 million citizens’

A hospital ward with patients
Patients in a hospital ward used to illustrate the story

Nigeria has 350 Orthopaedic surgeons to meet the needs of 170 million Nigerians, Mike Ogirima, National President, Nigerian Orthopaedic Association (NOA), has said.

The international standard is one orthopedic surgeon to 200,000 people. But Nigeria’s ratio is one surgeon to nearly 500,000 people.

Mr. Ogirima made the remark on Saturday in Abuja at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the association with the theme, “Sub specialisation in orthopaedic surgery: The way forward.’’

The production of these professionals, Mr. Ogirima noted, would check the “burden of care of the surging orthopaedic patients that are most often abused by obsolete traditional practitioners.’’

The president described the number of orthopaedics surgeons being trained in Nigeria as “grossly inadequate”.

He urged the Federal Government to sponsor more orthopaedic surgeons for post fellowship programmes to ensure competitive and quality healthcare services for the populace.

According to him, the training of more Orthopaedics specialists in various branches of the profession would boost their skill and manpower requirement and stem the trend of medical tourism.

“We need to train more experts in the care of the injured and we call on the government to sponsor surgeons for post fellowship programmes and equip hospitals to offer quality services to patients.

“Government should encourage members of the association into going for sub-specialisation, getting more skills outside the country and sponsor them for fellowship programmes, workshops so that the technology can be brought into country.

“We must also encourage sub-specialisation in various branches of the practices to stem the huge capital flight from outward medical tourism,’’ he said.

Mr. Ogirima expressed optimism that enhancing the competence of Orthopaedics surgeons would create viable environment and boost inward medical tourism, especially in the areas of scoliosis surgery and surgical oncology among others.

He described the practice whereby traditional practitioners set broken bones as “obsolete and an abuse of patients’ desire to seek orthodox means for their problem.’’

“These patients are often abused by the obsolete traditional practitioners.

“Traditional bone setters are found in every nook and cranny of the country and available at every accident.

“We therefore need to train more general orthopaedic surgeons to upturn this trend,’’ he said. (NAN)


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