People suffering from disorders of the Nervous System have nothing to fear anymore as the Lagos University teaching Hospital (LUTH), Idi-Araba, now conducts over 400 neurosurgical operations annually to correct the disorders.
Dr Femi Bankole, Chairman, Board of Trustees, Dele Arigbabu Neurosurgical Foundation (DANF) of LUTH’s Neurosurgery Department, made the assertion on Wednesday in Lagos.
Bankole told newsmen that “to continue to be able to do that, we need the support of all concerned’’.
He spoke on the sidelines of a Townhall meeting by the LUTH Neurosurgery Unit with theme, “Neurosurgery: The Essence of Early Presentation’’.
Bankole, a Consultant Neurosurgeon and Head of Neurosurgery Unit, Department of Surgery, LUTH, explained that Neurosurgery was a medical specialty concerned with the prevention, diagnosis, surgical treatment and rehabilitation of disorders which affect any portion of the nervous system.
“Over the years, we have increased the number of patients’ neurosurgery operations; we have been doing from less than a hundred to over 400 in a year in LUTH.
“DANF is an NGO of the neurosurgery unit that is focused on the disease conditions of the central nervous system.
“The idea is to increase awareness of the populace on these conditions, the available treatment options currently in the country and also to raise funds for emergency and for indigent patients to access care.
“This is because if there is a delay in treatment, the outcome is very severe,’’ he said.
He advised people to present early for prompt diagnosis and treatment.
“There is need to sensitise the public on the need to present early.
“Early presentation means that when you have something wrong with your body, don’t wait at home thinking it will go away.
“Many Nigerians do not understand the role and place of diseases involved with the brain and spinal cord; the brain and spinal cord are very important organs as they control all that we do.
“So, if people have problems with functions, are unable to do what they could do before and they allow it to linger, it could be late to be treated,’’ he said.
According to Bankole, the brain and spinal cord can be affected by accidents, injuries, trauma, tumours or growths (malignant and beningn), as well as by wear and tear, especially as old age sets in.
Some disorders of the nervous system include stroke, spina bifida, hydrocephalus, Alzheimer’s disease, infections such as meningitis, carpal tunnel syndrome and functional disorders such as headache and epilepsy.
The consultant neurosurgeon said there was need for increased philanthropy in the country as “philanthropy is what is embraced universally and I think it is time for Nigerians to understand that.
“The type of healthcare that we seek and many times we go abroad to get, is available because people donated, contributed and got involved.
“If Nigerians can get more involved with those of us rendering service in the public sector, we will be able to render more and better services,’’ Bankole said.
Also, Dr Tayo Ojo, a consultant neurosurgeon, said that DANF was founded in 2015 in honour of Prof. Surajudeen Arigbabu who played a significant role in the development of neurosurgical practice in Nigeria.
According to him, it is to raise funds for patients who need immediate care and also to better equip the neurosurgery unit of LUTH for more efficient service delivery.
“We also train doctors and nurses who are willing and interested to save lives in that area.
“In our three years, we have been able to help patients access care, do investigation, MRI tests, CT scans and some of them have accessed surgical treatment here in LUTH,’’ Ojo said.
Ms Lara Ogunfolu, Care Coordinator for Children with Hydrocephalus and Spina Bifida, said: “Finance is a major issue in accessing prompt care; there is need for more funding and donations.
“The kind of cases we see here are bad, especially as people come in late; we need more work tools and equipment for improved services,’’ she said.