It has become increasingly beneficial and necessary for healthcare stakeholders to form sustainable models for training and collaboration in an attempt to bridge the gap in the healthcare industry in Nigeria and across the region. The challenges facing the industry can start to be tackled when the key players come together to spark conversations that mobilize people and organizations to act.
Indeed, collaborative efforts are required if latest knowledge/techniques are used as the foundation for evidence based clinical service improvements within our medical field.
Euracare Multi-Specialist Hospital, a leading multi-specialist hospital in Lagos and Medtronic, a giant American healthcare manufacturing company exemplified such a collaboration as they partnered to host the first Bariatric Surgery Masterclass in West Africa. This is a highly specialized field/discipline of gastro-intestinal surgery that centres on the use of certain keyhole or laparoscopic surgical procedures that result in substantial weight reduction over time and treat Obesity and its associated chronic diseases such as Type 2 Diabetes and hypertension. The 1st of its kind, this 2 day event was held on the 17th and 18th of October 2019 at Euracare premises in Lagos. There were a select group of Bariatric surgeons who practice this type of surgery from not only here in Nigeria but also from Ghana, Cameroon, UK and the USA. The main focus of this masterclass was to bring these specialists together to discuss central issues like best clinic practice, training, research, and capacity building. The events was put together and lead by Consultant General and Laparoscopic Surgeon, Dr Abuchi Okaro
The 2 day event included live surgical procedures along with interactive audio-visual sessions relevant within the field of bariatric surgery. The main emphasis was on the importance of a multidisciplinary team approach to care with the core members being the bariatric surgeon, cardiologist, bariatric anaesthesiologist, endocrinologist, medical sleep experts and bariatric nutritionist. The central importance of the focussed perioperative care pathway as well as some of the challenges/opportunities in the practice was also debated.
According to Dr Abuchi Okaro, advanced bariatric surgical services are deficient in many Sub-Saharan African countries and there is an urgent need to reverse this state of affairs. Data has shown that obesity and its complications like diabetes, cardiovascular disease etc is responsible for an ever-increasing number of deaths in Africa. Bariatric surgery is a great way to address these issues, which is why I am passionate to play my part in the knowledge transfer. Tools like this masterclass, we believe is start in the right direction according to Dr Okaro.
Also speaking on the relevance of the masterclass, Dr Tosin Majekodunmi, Euracare Multi-Specialist Hospital’s Medical Director, said, “This masterclass showcases our commitment to not only striving for excellence in clinical services but also to stay at the forefront in the area of training and knowledge/skill transfer through assisting healthcare professionals to learn directly from our own experiences and our specialist the very latest techniques and processes in their respective fields.
Bariatric or weight loss surgery comprises several gastrointestinal procedures such as the single anastomoses bypass, sleeve gastrectomy (Gastric Sleeve) and gastric balloon procedure. The procedures are performed using minimally-invasive techniques of laparoscopy and endoscopy. This has the main advantage of resulting in quicker return to normal life and work, being physically active, less pain, quicker return to liquid and food intake and minimal scarring. The surgery is specifically most suited for those individuals who need to achieve and sustain an amount of weight reduction that diet, and exercise only cannot deliver. The benefits of surgical weight loss are far reaching in terms of chronic disease resolution for conditions like hypertension, Type 2 diabetes, and obstructive sleep apnoea to mention a few. Other benefits extend into psycho-social symptoms like self confidence, self esteem and well being.