By CHIOMA OBINNA
Nigerian amputees faced with the challenge of obtaining artificial replacement limbs can now have better access to such services as the National Orthopaedic Hospital, Igbobi Lagos, NOHIL recently graduated 37 prosthetists and orthotists at the maiden convocation of the Federal College of Orthopaedic Technology, FECOT, Lagos.
Prior to this, the nation could hardly boast of 10 prosthetists and orthotists as a result of a combination of the sequel of the mass exodus of such allied health personnel to foreign countries iin the 1990s.
Prosthetists are medical professionals who assess, design, fabricate and fit artificial limbs while orthotists provide assistive devices and braces for patients with musculoskeletal deficits. The two related allied health disciplines are concerned with the aim of restoring them to their pre- injury status.
In 2010, N20 million was committed for direct purchase of equipment and tools from Ottoburg, Germany for NOHIL, but establishment of the FECOT is enabl;ing Nigeria check paucity of professional manpower and meet demand for artificial limbs.
Addressing the 2008/2009 and 2009/2010 graduands, Minister of State for Health, Dr. Muhammad Ali Pate, directed the orthopaedic hospitals in Enugu and Kano to initiate the process of commencing National Diploma programme to urgently address the shortage.
Pate who was represented by the Chief Medical Director, Lagos University Teaching Hospital, LUTH, Prof. Akin Osibogun, said the acute shortage of prosthetists and orthotists formed the basis for the approval of NOHIL in 2005 and 2007 to commence the training and that more funds would be released to NOHIL to procure all the necessary equipment and tools for commencement of the Higher National Diploma Programme.
Earlier, Chief Medical Director of the Hospital, Dr. Dr. Wahab Yinusa urged graduands to develop right attitude to work as well as upgrade their knowledge.
FECOT is the first recognised college in Nigeria to train prosthetists/orthotists at the ND/HND levels. It is a monotechnic recognised by the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE), the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) and the Medical Rehabilitation Therapists Board (MRTB).