Prof. Lukman Abdur-Rahman of the Department of Surgery of the University of Ilorin, has appealed to all tiers of government to make Laparoscopy, known as keyhole surgery, affordable to indigent Nigerians.
Prof Abdur-Rahman made the call in his paper presentations at the 222nd Inaugural Lecture of the University, entitled: “Shades of Joy and Cry: Intrigues and Intricacies of Children’s Surgery for Restoring Smile and Hope for the Future”.
He described Laparoscopy as a type of surgical procedure that allows a surgeon to access the inside of the abdomen and pelvis without having to make large incisions on the skin.
According to him, the benefits of this technique have been enjoyed by the elites and NHIS enrollees because of the higher cost which might be catastrophic for families who pay out of pocket.
Abdur-Rahman who teaches in the Faculty of Clinical Sciences, College of Health Sciences of the University, said if this surgical procedure is made accessible and affordable to poor families, it will guarantee adequate exposure and training for many colleagues.
He stated that he had propagated the use of the procedure at the University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital by training colleagues, surgical residents, and allied health staff, among others.
“We have maximised these benefits in our practice in providing diagnostic and therapeutic management of non-palpable undescended testes, disorders of sexual differentiation and complicated appendicitis,” he said.
The expert stated further that in Nigeria, the estimated incidence of birth defects varies between 2.5 and 11.5 per 1,000 live births in the six geopolitical zones of the country.
He added that Neonatal Mortality Rate is still high at 26.6 per cent, while attributing this factor to lack of access to surgery which includes the significant shortage of workforce.
According to him, globally, 1.7 billion children do not have access to safe, affordable, and timely surgical care, and sub-Saharan Africa bears the largest burden because up to 50 per cent of the population are children.
The Paediatrician advised the Federal Government to step up paediatric surgical care awareness at the primary health care level so that the conditions are identified early and appropriate counsel is provided to caregivers.
“All existing children’s hospitals should be upgraded to have complimentary well-equipped and staffed Paediatric surgical services at the state and federal levels,” he said.