Dr Affiong Enumelu Consultant Anaesthetist, National Hospital, Abuja on Monday decried shortage of anaesthetists in the nation’s health sector.
In an interview with newsmen in Abuja, the medical doctor said that the shortage was responsible for the number of death recorded in the process of surgery.
Anaesthetist is a specialist who administers an anesthetic (a drug that causes temporary loss of bodily sensation) to a patient before treatment.
NAN reports that World Anaesthesia day is marked on Oct. 16 every year since 1846 to raise awareness on the importance of anaesthesia in healthcare delivery.
Enumelu disclosed that Nigeria had less than 1,000 anaesthetists rendering healthcare services to the population of 180 million, describing it as “grossly inadequate’’.
“We currently have one anaesthetist to a population of 210,000 as against the world ratio of one anaesthetist to 10,000 patients,’’ she said.
She urged the government across board to place priority attention to training of manpower in the field to address the burden of death recorded during surgery.
Elumelu said the theme of the 2017 celebration – Count me in – was to create awareness on the role of anaesthetist in surgery and the need for government to institutionalise training of more manpower in the field.
“The theme is to let the government know that we have to institute a long term plan to train more anaesthetists, to equip the country with more theatres and anaesthetic equipment which goes side by side with surgery.
“Nigeria has only 221 consultant anaesthetists for 180 million and about 660 trainee anaesthetists at various stages of training,’’ she said.
Another consultant Anaesthetist in the hospital, MaryRose Osazuwa said that beyond anaesthesia for surgery, they also practice pain management and intensive care.
She identified the categories of patients that required anaesthesia as women billed for caesarean session and people that sustained injury in accident.
She added that patients with infections, chronic conditions like heart and kidney problems among others also require the services of anaesthetist.