FCT has medical equipments for minimal access surgery – Dr. Onakomaiya

Secretary of  FCT Health and Human Services Secretariat, Dr. Ademola Onakomaiya, spoke to journalists on the new equipments acquired by the Secretariat for  carrying out minimal access surgeries like appendicectomy, cholecystectomy and ovarian cystectomy, as well as the challenges hampering healthcare delivery in the FCT. AYONI M. AGBABIAKA was there and reports

The new equipment
After months of planning, the FCT Administration, through the Health and Human Services Secretariat, has procured state of the art Endocopic towers manufactured by Karl Storz, Germany, to improve the quality of healthcare by improving on the existing services provided and also commencing new services. This endoscopic equipment have since been installed at Asokoro District hospital. The hospital now has the capacity to carry out minimal access surgery like appendicectomy, cholecystectomy and ovarian cystectomy to mention just a few.

Other new services obtainable in FCT?
Other new services that are functional include Intensive care services, computerised tomography services, digital fluoroscopy, heamo-dialysis services, automated laboratory investigations and mammography. These services were previously non-existent in FCTA-owned hospitals until the inception of the present administration.

These terms to a layman
An Endoscopy is a simple procedure which allows a doctor to look inside human bodies using an instrument called an endoscope. A cutting tool can be attached to the end of the endoscope, and the apparatus can then be used to perform surgery which usually leaves only a tiny scar externally.

Difference between other forms of surgery
The main advantage of this new surgical procedure over open surgery is that it is minimal access surgery resulting in a small scar and the hospital stay is much shorter. Consequently, on the longer term, more patients can be treated over a given period of time compared to open surgery.
The endoscopic towers also include gastrointestinal or bowel endoscopy allowing diagnostic and even therapeutic examinations of the esophagus, stomach, duodenum, the rectum and the sigmoid part of the large bowel. Investigation of symptoms such as symptoms in the digestive system including nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, difficulty swallowing and gastrointestinal bleeding can be carried out. It could be used for treatment such as cauterisation of bleeding vessels, widening a narrow esophagus, clipping off a polyp or removing foreign objects.
The urological towers permit examination of the genitourinary tract allowing for visual examination of the urethra and the bladder as well as the removal of the prostate gland by a technique known as transurethral resection of the prostate. This operation is indeed carried out without a scar on the abdomen since the surgery is carried out through the urethra.

Possibility of these achievements in FCT
All these would not have been possible without the support and leadership of the FCT Minister, Senator Bala Mohammed, who has shown commitment to the actualisation of all these projects.
The Honourable Minister has also been compassionate to the pregnant women of the FCT with free antenatal care and indeed other residents of the FCT by ensuring that health care is accessible, affordable and qualitative.

Challenges in FCT healthcare delivery?
The main challenge is the increased patient attendance at the hospitals as result of the comprehensive health services available as well as the limited bed space for admission of patients in the hospitals.
There is therefore the urgent need to open up more healthcare facilities for the ever-increasing number of people in the territory and its environs from where these patients seek medical attention.

Another  challenge is staff shortage. The ever increasing number of patients seeking healthcare at Askoro hospital and other FCTA-owned healthcare facilities  creates a real disproportion in health worker – patient ratio. It is expected that this challenge will be alleviated by the recent approval by the Minister for the replacement and appointments of healthcare workers. It is also expected that when the Karu and Zuba General Hospitals are opened, the challenge of space and accommodation of patients will be an issue of the past.

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