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 Surgeons tackle deaths from surgical site infections

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By Juliet Umeh

Lagos is the central hub for Nigeria on the research collaboration with the University of Birmingham which is looking at ways to reduce surgical site infection, SSI, globally.   The research, FALCON trial, is a high intervention global study to reduce SSI also known as infection after surgical operation.

 Surgeons tackle deaths from surgical site infections

At the flag-off in Lagos, the National Coordinating Investigator/  Associate Prof. Adesoji Ademuyiwa of the College of Medicine, University of Lagos, said FALCON is an acronym that stands for pragmatic, multi-center, international, randomized, control trial, testing measures to reduce Surgical Site Infection, SSI, in the low and middle-income countries.

Ademuyiwa who is also the Lagos Hub Lead for FALCON trial for NIH funded Global Surgery Unit at the Department of Surgery, Faculty of Clinical Sciences, College of Medicine at the University of Lagos, said the essence of research is as a result of the previous studies that have been done across the globe like in British journal, BJS, and Lancet Infectious Diseases, which showed that surgical site infection is a serious cause of morbidity and mortality.

He said: “Another study discovered that infection after surgical operation is nine percent in high-income countries and about 14 percent in the middle-income countries while it is 23 percent in low-income countries.

“So we found that low and middle-income countries have almost double or even triple the surgical site infection rate. So the FALCON trial is an intervention study to reduce surgical site infection and it is comparing two things in the surgical procedure.

“Number one is the way we prepare the skin before the first cut. Then second intervention is the way we close the wound. We want to know which of these techniques will result in the least surgical site infection rate,” he said.

He said Lagos Hub was lucky to be chosen as a hub for Nigeria. Centres in  Kano, Abuja, Ilorin, Ibadan, Port Harcourt, Calabar, Enugu, Nnewi among others are being supported.

“We are supporting these Centres with infrastructure, intervention materials and also with funding. We hope that if this intervention succeeds, it going to change practice worldwide.”

A Consultant Colorectal Surgeon, Mr. Aneel Bhangu, at the University of Birmingham, UK said the ongoing intervention will help curtail morbidity and mortality in Africa.

Also speaking, Head of the Department of Surgery at the University of Lagos, College of Medicine, Prof Wole Atoyebi, said the research is very important because one of the most feared complications is an infection.  event infection is key.”

In the same vein, Consultant Paediatric Surgeon and Vice President of the Association of Paediatric Surgeons of Nigeria, Dr. Olori Samson, said the outcome of this research may contribute to the reduction in the surgical site infection rate.

In her submission, Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Development Services at the University of Lagos, Prof Sade Ogunsola, noted that research like FALCON trial is a difficult one “but the good thing is that we are having collaboration between the UK and Nigeria, we are also equal partners, working together right from the research design,” she said.

The symposium brought together a network of senior surgeons from across Nigeria who will now start recruiting patients for the trial.


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