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Experts decry dearth of regulations for traditional orthopaedic care


Absence of set rules, regulations have been identified as the bane of traditional management of orthopaedics and trauma patients in Nigeria.

Even before the advent of orthodox surgical care people had traditional ways of managing fractures and other surgical challenges with acceptable results. Information has shown that traditional bone setters enjoy more patronage than the orthodox. Unfortunately, many of these patients are mismanaged while some face permanent disability.

Considering these and more, experts in orthopaedic care in Lagos are seeking urgent setting of rules and regulations to guide the operations of  unorthodox practitioners in the country to fill in the gap created by long neglect of unorthodox primary care.

At the just- concluded annual scientific conference by the National Orthopaedic Hospital, Igbobi tagged: “Unorthodox Surgical Care: How Relevant in the 21st Century” experts agreed that without the trado – medical practitioners there will be less availability of orthopaedic surgical care in the rural communities, hence the need for acceptable rules and regulations guiding their practice.

Chairman, Management Board, NOHL, Dr. Otunba Gbola Adetunji  acknowledged relevance of the tradomedical practitioners but stressed the need for standardisation and close monitoring

“There is need for government to set rules and regulations to guide the operations of the unorthodox practitioners in Nigeria, so as to stop further destruction of limbs and untimely death.

Recognising the role of traditional bone setting practice in the management of dislocation and other fractures, he, however, said poorly handled unorthodox surgical care, especially in orthopaedic and trauma, has resulted to the untimely death and permanent disability of many innocent Nigerians.

On why the rules are needed, he lamented that many of the complications have led to the presentation of non-viable limbs to Igbobi hospital, necessitating life saving amputations, as a result, he said the Centre is being wrongly tagged as “limb amputation centre”.

In his lecture entitled: “The Problem of Unorthodox Surgical Care in the 21st Century”, Professor John Onuminya noted that it was more apt to concentrate on the need to improve services offered by alternative medical practitioners instead of emphasizing on the problems. Onuminya frowned that an unorthodox or unconventional practice is also found among the orthodox practitioners.

“Traditional Bone Setter Practice is one of the key specialties of Traditional Medicine in many developing countries, especially in rural areas. In time past, the practitioners have recorded tremendous successes in managing fractures, dislocations, chronic musculoskeletal conditions, though not without their shortcomings. Without them, there is certainly dearth in surgical care practice,” he said.

Medical Director, NOHIL, Dr. Olurotimi Odunubi said there was every need to streamline and set rules for alternative medicine practitioners so that they can be regulated, monitored and sanctioned when erred.

“When rules and regulations are laid down for them, alternative medicine would attract better recognition, acceptance and healthy practising environment capable of enhancing complementary role for the orthodox practitioners.”

Chairman, Local Organising Committee, Dr Muna Chira said the theme of the event was both topical and exciting, describing it as a time to examine the merits and demerits of unorthodox surgical care.

Chira said “Our workshop seeks to examine the advances in trado-medical, Osteopathic, Homeopathic and indeed other forms of unorthodox surgical care and how they can possibly be reproduced, standardized and amalgamated with Orthodox care, to produce a comprehensive range of options for the benefits of Nigerians.

He explained that the conference was an opportunity to draw authorities’ attention to dialogue with the unorthodox practitioners with a view to encourage standardization and safety of their practice to limit complications and to examine the possibilities of an integrated healthcare for all Nigerians.

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