… Trains 80 healthcare workers
By ONYEKACHI JET
Nigeria’s health sector received a boost at the weekend following the donation of 48 new ultrasound-scanning machines by a Non Governmental Organization, UKaid-Partnership for Transforming Health Systems (UKaid-PATHS) to hospitals in five pilot states.
To ensure that the machines were not underutilized, UK-aid-PATHS also organized a workshop during which 80 doctors and radiographers drawn from the states were trained on how to put them into efficient use. The 48-ultrasound scanning machines are top of the range machines with advanced technology. The beneficiary states are: Lagos, Kaduna, Enugu, Jigawa and Kano.
UKaid-PATHS is able to implement the programme through the United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID). The event, which was held at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, Ikeja, brought to fore the importance of training and provision of up-to-date equipment as key elements at revamping the health sector.
Addressing participants, the Representative of the National Programme Manager, UKaid-PATHS leader in Lagos State, Mrs. Bisi Tugbobo explained that the provision of the 48 Philips ultrasound-scanning machines was part of commodity support to improve healthcare delivery and to help reduce maternal mortality in Nigeria.
“The support that we’re giving in terms of supporting them with drugs, equipment…these will alleviate and reduce maternal mortality rate in the country,” she said. The facilitator believes that if all stakeholders should pull resources together, it would be possible to achieve the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 4 and 5 by 25 percent.
According to her, the organization felt the need for the provision of the machines and training because, “when you go to some of our facilities, you would find out that they don’t have the right equipment.
Continuing, she said: “Even, the little they have, people are not trained to use it effectively or optimally. So, with this kind of gesture, making equipment available to facilities, and training people to use it, we will be reducing maternal mortality. I know other donors are trying their best. But we should channel it in the right direction.
Tubor told participants that UKaid-PATHS partners with the Federal Ministry of Health to have a donor coordination forum just as she noted that working in five states has made the programme more useful. “Other donors can pick it up,” she appealed.
Basically, the programme is designed to be like catalyst and aimed at supporting the state governments, improving on their planning, financing and service delivery as it relates to health.
While saying the organization cannot do everything, Tubor disclosed that it has supported the hospitals with drugs and equipment worth over 5billion naira. “We’ve been constructing bore holes, just to ensure that there are quality services in all the state where we’re working. This is the first phase of the programme.
Consultant Gynecologist and Obstetrician with Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, Dr Godwin Akhabhua and one of the trainees shared his experience on the training. “These are special machines. But they need people who have been using scan before and would need minimal reminder to master the machine to be able to train others. So, we were called in as super users”.
On how the machines would boost service delivery in the sector, he said: “What this can do cannot be conceptualized in one discussion; they are actually top of the range machines, very advantageous and make life very simple for the practitioner. With it, you can see that you can actually see your baby well before your baby is born.
“Even as a lay person. It can tell you if your baby is well and alive? Is it one, two, three or four? Is it in the right position? Is the placenta at the right position” is the baby having abnormality? Is the baby in trouble” is the woman in trouble?
These are things you can pick within a short period of your ultrasound, which ordinarily you would have doubted. And I think it’s a step in the right direction. In fact, I would suggest that any place where the care of a pregnant woman is taking place, the use of this machine should be a must. I want to thank the donor agency. I thank Lagos State government because you need a good recipient to get this kind of product. Honestly, I don’t see obstetrician gynecology that can be practicing without ultrasound machine.”