Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Dr Jide Idris, has expressed satisfaction with the capacity of the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH) to successfully undertake regular knee replacement surgeries following the completion of no fewer than 12 total knee replacement surgeries since the commencement of the exercise three years ago.
Idris, who made the observation at a press conference, noted that the state commenced the exercise following the high numbers of patients who applied to the state government for financial assistance to travel abroad, usually India, to undergo knee replacement surgery.
“As a government we thought it wise to discontinue the trend of taking our resources abroad for surgical exercise that can be done in the country. We felt by starting this exercise, we would not only discourage patronage of overseas treatment, but we would build local capacity for surgical procedures like this”.
Idris added that the exercise is also an avenue for training resident doctors aspiring to become certified specialist as well as nursing staff and physiotherapists who will be responsible for patients’ nursing and rehabilitation management. The Commissioner, who stated that though the numbers of knee replacement implant carried out since inception are inadequate for training, noted that the inadequacies informed the need to make provision for a fixed number of free total knee and total hip prostheses every month, no matter how few.
“This way, the surgeons, nurses and physiotherapists get to manage such cases frequently and therefore become more proficient. Also, the less fortunate Lagosians, who would otherwise have been unable to afford this treatment on account of cost, would be the ultimate beneficiaries of this exercise”, he said.
Idris opined that the state government through this effort would be saving lot of the funds that would otherwise have gone to India and other places abroad aside from performing the roles of caring for its citizens which it is well known for, whilst also building human capacity and developing enduring physical and institutional infrastructure. The Commissioner noted that in the latest exercise, two total knee replacement surgeries sponsored by the Lagos State Limb Deformity programme were carried out in LASUTH on Saturday, 27th and Sunday 28th, April 2013.
“Both patients had severe osteoarthritis of the knees, a condition characterized by worn-out cartilage at the ends of the bones that come together to form a joint. The worn-out cartilage and some of the underling bone is surgically removed and replaced with prostheses during total joint replacement”, he said.
Idris said that the surgical procedures were carried out using INDUS total knee implants made in India, adding that an Indian surgeon, Prof. Nagare was in attendance to demonstrate the peculiarities of insertion of that particular implant to the LASUTH surgeons and exchange personal experience while giving few tips and tricks.
“The surgical procedure resulted in the patients being able to walk again without pain and deformity. Both patients had uneventful post-operative periods and were discharged one week after surgery. I am indeed happy that these surgical interventions aside providing succor to beneficiaries are also used as training ground for residents doctors and students and as a means of building capacity and improving expertise in handling such cases”, the Commissioner noted.