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Year : 2006  |  Volume : 9  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 78-81

Rural surgical outreach services in the niger delta region of Nigeria: A preliminary report

1 Department of Surgery, University of Port-Harcourt Teaching Hospital, Port-Harcourt, Rivers State, Nigeria
2 Department of Anaesthesiology, University of Port-Harcourt Teaching Hospital, Port-Harcourt, Rivers State, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
C N Mato
Department of Anaesthesiology, University of Port-Harcourt Teaching Hospital, Port-Harcourt, Rivers State
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Background: Adequate health facilities are lacking in rural areas in the world. The International College of Surgeons (ICS) has embarked on surgical outreach programs to address this lack . Aim: To present a recent experience of Rural Surgery Outreach in the Niger Delta Area of Nigeria. Materials and Methods: From November 2002 to March 2005, surgical teams comprising surgeons and anaesthetists, with support from sponsors visited pre-arranged medical facilities in the Niger Delta Area to assess and treat patients with ailments amenable to surgery within the context of available facilities. Announcements through community leaders and the radio were used to reach the people In the area to be visited informing them of the date and location of the outreach service. Operating times were from 1Oam to 7pm. Anaesthetic techniques used were local infiltration, spinal and Total Intravenous Anaesthesia (TIVA). The medical officer of the facility reviewed the patients the next day and was to report any complications. Results: Six surgeons, one obstetrician and 2 anaesthetists part(cipated in the outreach. There were 3 sponsors. Five centers were visited In Akwa lbom ' and Rivers States, but surgical procedures took place in only 4 centers. Out of a total of 720 patients, 380 (52.8%) were screened, and of these 215 (56.6%) had surgical ailments. Seventy (70) operations were carried out on 68 (31 .6%) patients. Of those who had surgery, there were 51 males, and 17 females (M :F ratio 3:1), with ages ranging form 3 to 75 years (mean 43.3 years). There was one report of a huge haematoma following repair of a huge inguina-scrotal hernia. Conclusion: The program, though challenging, Is a worthy one and If maintained, would enable delivery of surgical care to disadvantaged communities.

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