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Laparoscopy practice to end medical tourism


Practitioners identify training, capacity building as major challenges

Laparoscopic Surgery Society of Nigeria (LASSON) in collaboration with the Lagos University Teaching Hospital Idi-Araba (LUTH) has called on medical practitioners to embrace the laparoscopic procedure and training so as to reduce medical tourism in the country.

Laparoscopy is a surgical procedure in which a fibre-optic instrument is inserted through the abdominal wall to view the organs in the abdomen or permit small-scale surgery.

Chief Medical Director (CMD) of LUTH, Prof. Chris Bode, at its 4th international workshop on laparoscopic surgery tagged ‘Enhancing training in laparoscopic surgery in West Africa’ said: “It is important to note that laparoscopy surgery started many years ago in Europe and America and its only just taking root in Nigeria.”

Bode who was represented by the Head Department of Surgery LUTH, Prof. Suleiman Giwa, explained that Nigeria is in a hurry to catch up with what is obtained in Europe and America so that medical tourism can be reduced.

Bode further explained: “People have read about laparoscopy or key hole surgery. They travel abroad to do these things. If we can offer it to them here it is obvious it will be cheaper and it will be in their own environment. So our colleagues in laparoscopy surgery are in a hurry to see that we train as many as possible in the country, within the six geopolitical zones so that there is no where you are in the country that you won’t be able to be offered laparoscopy surgery and that is the reason we organise this course.”

Also the President of LASSON, Dr. Jimi Coker, said: “Laparoscopy is minimal invasive surgery. It is a term that describes a different way of doing an operation, known as open surgery. The advantage we have is that we use smaller cuts to get into the body cavities to deal with the problem already established. It is all about getting access to the body to remove things and clean up the issues. It just about the access to the body, the key hole access. It is the same operation but it is done in a different way.”

Cooker added: “The lectures we had today are talking about the basic laparoscopic surgery, principles and also about advanced laparoscopy study in terms of bariatric surgery and colorectal surgery. We will be going to the operating theatre. We already have a number of cases lined up. It will be performed and will be a guideline to the lectures for all the surgeons who came from the entire six geo political zones in the country.’’

A bariatric practitioner in United Kingdom (U.K.), Dr. Abuchi Okaro, said that the challenges facing practice are training and capacity building.

“The real challenge is to get enough surgeons who are interested in training and learning the skills and also being able to apply it with the nurses,” he said.

Okaro added: “Everybody can benefit from this. From infant to adults and the old, everybody can benefit and in terms of cost it is quite affordable. What we need to ensure is that if we do enough of this then economy scale will even make it lot more affordable and in terms of safety, training is the key to safety and that is the reason we are having this workshop.”

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