…As Reddington seeks end to medical tourism

By Olayinka Ajayi

Reddington Hospital has saved a baby delivered at 25 weeks with its state-of-the-art facilities in Lagos. The Head of Paediatrics at the hospital, Dr. Olajide Ojo, speaking on the feat, told Sunday Vanguard that all hands must be on deck to provide adequate medical facilities in Nigeria to stem medical tourism.

“Despite the known fact that Nigeria’s health indicators are poor and while government can do so much, there is need for the private sector to contribute and support what government is able to provide”, Ojo said.

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“This is the reason we changed the narrative not only in the care of the newborn space, but also to set a new standard of care for this vulnerable age group.

“We recently established a level 3 Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), one of the very few in the country and this unit was set up following an investment funded by the Bank of Industry and Access Bank of Nigeria with the aim to offer quality healthcare to neonates including preterm babies.”

The affected couple who preferred to remain anonymous narrated how their premature baby was delivered at 25 weeks.

The husband said: “My wife during the period of pregnancy experienced serious contraction pains, and we didn’t know what it was. So we took her to a hospital where she was admitted but they didn’t know it was contraption pains.

“In the cause of that, she started having a feeling like she wanted to use the restroom. But she didn’t know that it was the process of putting to bed that was happening.

“It then happened that she put to bed a premature baby. The baby was a day to 25weeks which is about 6 months.

“The hospital personnel were shocked because nobody expected it. We were at a loss as to how to go about it as they didn’t have the facilities to handle it.

“So they referred us to Reddington Hospital which gave us positive response that they would be able to handle it.

“It was in Reddington that the baby’s weight was determined because the hospital we used before did not have the equipment for it.

“I also searched online the chances of survival of babies born in 26 weeks and I got to understand that it’s 30 to 70 survival which the doctor in the other hospital also confirmed.

“But Reddington assured us that they have the facilities that would ensure the survival of the baby, so we left it to them and the baby has been under their care for over two months now. It’s been a trying time for my wife and me.”

Shedding more light on the development, Ojo said: “Using our Transport Incubator Ambulance, we evacuated the premature baby girl delivered at 25 weeks’ gestation (just about 6 months old pregnancy), with birth weight of 800gm, from another hospital in Lagos within a few hours of delivery.

“For ease of comparison, an average normal new-born baby weighs about 3kg, meaning this baby was about a quarter of the weight of a new-born.

“While there are always huge challenges in the management of premature babies anywhere in the world, especially those at 25 weeks of gestation, our team rose to the task successfully dealing with various complications and challenges that came up throughout her 65 days’ stay in hospital.

“We are happy that the baby, having progressively improved, gaining tremendous weight while on admission, has now been discharged to the delight of her parents.

“While there is need to stem and reverse the trend of medical tourism abroad, it is extremely important that potential parents and medical practitioners are aware of such facilities available locally, especially when time is of great essence.

“We recently committed the required resources in terms of manpower and technology for the purpose of caring for the new-born especially preterm babies for better outcome.

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“We are also exploring collaboration with other hospitals, both public and private, to train and develop human capacity in ensuring that skilled medical personnel are in attendance at labour and deliveries.

“This will definitely go a long way in improving patient outcomes.

“A neonate is a baby aged between 1 and 28 days. An Intensive Care Unit is a unit where critically ill patients are treated at a more intensive level than is needed by other patients. Hence, a NICU is a facility for the care of critically ill babies including prematures.

“The NICU at Reddington is a 6-bed facility with state-of-the-art equipment like the Giraffe incubators and Infant Resuscitaires, highly sophisticated ventilators capable of ventilating preterm babies weighing as low as 500gm (about the weight of an apple), infusion pumps to deliver pre-set fluid rates, syringe drivers, arterial blood gas measurement, phototherapy for babies with jaundice.

“We also have a Transport Incubator Ambulance System, which can be used to transport a new born preterm baby from anywhere in Lagos to our facility in Victoria Island”.

Ojo, a Consultant Neonatologist/Paediatrician, has 15-year-experience in the care of premature babies and older children.

In his team is Dr Raj Kishore, who has Fellowship in neonatology with relevant experience caring for over 700 babies both in Africa and India.


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