Pate’s boost for Nigeria’s health sector

One of the potential successes of the Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare (CMHSW), Professor Muhammad Ali Pate,  resides in the  recent  decision by the federal government to upgrade health infrastructure by providing advanced equipment in multiple health facilities in the country.

Making it a reality will certainly enhance the positive reputation of the CMHSW as a goal-getter, reduce foreign health tourism and perhaps encourage doctors considering emigrating to stay at home.

The decision to equip the health facilities is especially  notable because it incorporated  the provision of two cardiac catheterisation laboratories (Cath Lab), one each for the  Usman Danfodiyo University Teaching Hospital, Sokoto, and the University College Hospital, Ibadan.  Other diagnostic and intervention radiology and clinical pathology equipment are also in the package for the two hospitals. 

When or if the two promised cardiac catheritisation laboratories are procured and installed in the two teaching hospitals, Nigeria will have  four of such vital tools in the healthcare provision system. This is a step forward given the uses and functions of Cath Labs. 

Experts say that the functions of Cath Labs include the detection and treatment  of  over 30  distinct types of heart diseases. Studies indicate that such diseases are rampant in the country.

As this writer explained in an article last year, other functions of Cath Labs include  “imaging of coronary and blood vessels in the body. Displayed images on the monitor can be seen in 360° in detail and  total clarity.  This enables doctors  to see the images from many  perspectives. The clarity leads to high precision in diagnosing.”

It was also explained in the article that, “A catheterisation Laboratory also enabled surgeons to conduct  minimally invasive tests and procedures  in diagonising  and treating  cardiovascular diseases involving the heart and blood vessels.”

A teaching hospital from each of the six geopolitical zones has been selected for the establishment of oncology and nuclear medicine centres. This is  to make accurate  cancer diagnosis and care  accessible to as many patients as possible in the country.

Those of us delving into medical and healthcare journalism are impressed that the number of cardiac catheterisation laboratories in the country would become four in the next two years, if the proverbial financial constraints do not abort the promised provisions of these tools.

This writer first became aware of what cardiac catheritisation laboratory was in an interaction with Professor Abdurrahman Abba Sheshe, the much-praised Chief Medical Director (CMD) of the Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital (AKTH), Kano, and subsequently gained further insights from  his Deputy, Professor Auwalu Umar Gajida and a Professor of Medicine and Consultant Cardiologist, Professor Kamilu Musa Karaye.

Although Professor Sheshe as CMD and Professor Gajida as Chairman, Medical Advisory Committee, worked in unison with the Hospital’s dissolved Board of Management and the top management committee of the Hospital  to acquire a cardiac catheritisation laboratory for the hospital, their push so far yielded several other advanced equipment for the Hospital.

The equipment were a Heart Lung Machine, a C-Arm machine for surgery, a Cervical Spine Set and Lumbar Spine Set, an Echocardiography Machine and a sophisticated Microbiology equipment. There is also the 160 slice CT machine and the well-equipped NKDC Advanced Diagnostic Centre, a joint-venture between the Hospital and the National Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA). A plant for producing Oxygen was provided to the Hospital by the Federal Ministry of Health.

Still on equipment available at the AKTH other than cardiac catheritisation laboratory, is a phaco machine for Opthalmology Department, Anaesthesia machine, micro debrider hand piece machine and more.

The AKTH, which was not among the first set of tertiary health facilities that would be equipped in the recent decision  by the federal government, it nevertheless achieved some medical feats: the Hospital pioneered maggot therapy in Nigeria for the treatment of stubborn wounds; it has done Cochlear in-plant surgeries and did some Bariatric Surgeries. It has successfully transplanted kidneys over 100 times; conducted open heart surgery and is set to start liver transplantation.

My prayer as a citizen to the Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Professor Muhammad Ali Pate,  is that Nigerians should be given updates on the  procurement, delivery and installation of the equipment. Doing so will demonstrate  that the hope raised will not be dashed. And there will be no subsequent frivolous petitions alleging failed contract against the Minister and the APC-led administration.

Salisu Na’inna Dambatta is a retired federal Director of InformationPhoto:

Radiation Oncology Machine