The Association of Pediatric Surgeons of Nigeria (APSON) has appealed to the Federal Government to establish well-designed and purposely built National Children Hospitals with dedicated infrastructure and a child-friendly environment.
Its President, Prof. Auwal Abubakar and Secretary, Prof. Usang E Usang, said on Wednesday in Lagos that such a hospital should be located in each of the six geo-political zones.
Abubakar and Usang said in a statement that the hospitals would be able to cater, among others, for children’s surgery.
According to them, as a matter of urgency, there should be an upgrade of facilities for surgical care of children in the emergency room, operating theatre, and children wards.
“Indeed, there should be a provision of Paediatric Critical Care Unit in the existing hospitals and training institutions.
“Government should support the training of dedicated and specialised workforce for the care of children requiring surgery, including pediatric surgeons, nurses, physiotherapists, and laboratory scientists.
“The association is opened to collaborate with agencies, government establishment and well-meaning individuals and organisations in taking children’s surgery to the grassroots.
“This we hope, is to be achieved by organising outreaches and training workshops for various cadres of allied health workers.
“All efforts should be made to tame the brain drain issues by providing a conducive environment and appropriate remunerations to our members.
“As children are secondary payers for healthcare services, we passionately appeal that all children’s surgery is made free, including cancer surgery and medications,’’ they said.
Abubakar and Usang said the association observed that the burden of childhood surgical diseases was enormous as children constitute more than 43 per cent of the nation’s population.
“Unfortunately, the unmet surgical needs of these children are well over 60 per cent.
“This is attributable to a lack of support for the management of childhood surgical conditions.
“This is clearly seen in the gaps in infrastructure, trained personnel, and policy drive for children’s surgical care.
“The 2019 scientific meeting witnessed robust discussion on topics in neonatal surgery, pediatric trauma, gastrointestinal surgery, oncology, urology, and pediatric general surgery,” they said.
The association, therefore, called for collaboration at various levels, including multidisciplinary, inter-specialty, across regions, international and among professional bodies, especially with the pediatricians and nurses.
They said that the association’s 2019 scientific meeting witnessed robust discussion on neonatal surgery, pediatric trauma, gastro-intestinal surgery, oncology, urology, and pediatric general surgery.