INTERNATIONAL

Neuroanesthesia Activities in Nigeria

Salawu Morayo, M. MBBS, FMCA
Past Treasurer, Nigerian Society of Anaesthetist
Consultant Anaesthetist
Department of Anaesthesia and Intensive Care, National Hospital, Abuja, Nigeria

Okpala Joseph, M. MBBS, FWACS
Consultant Anaesthetist
Department of Anaesthesia and Intensive Care, National Hospital, Abuja, Nigeria

Ekumankama Obasi MBBS, FWACS
Consultant Anaesthetist
Department of Anaesthesia and Intensive Care, National Hospital, Abuja, Nigeria

Ugwuanyi Charles, U. MBBS, FMCS, FICS
Consultant Neurosurgeon
Department of Neurosurgery, National Hospital, Abuja, Nigeria

Dr. Morayo

Salawu Morayo, M. MBBS, FMCA

Neuroanesthesia in Nigeria has come a long way, especially in the context of advances in neurosurgery and neurocritical care. However, with the significant shortage of anesthesia services due to a lack of human resources, developing subspecialties such as Neuroanesthesia is still rudimentary. Most of the anesthetists are involved in the management of other cases because of this shortage. Nevertheless, there have been some important improvements in neuroanesthesia services of late. Nigeria is divided into six geographical zones, which include South-West, South-East, South-South, North–West, North-East, and North-Central. The University College Hospital, Ibadanin, South-West Nigeria, is the first university teaching hospital in the country where medical practice in neurosurgery and neuroanesthesia were initiated. The National Hospital, Abuja in North-Cental Nigeria, established in 1999, was mainly for children and women. Subsequently, in 2000, it was opened to the general population, including adult male patients; the goal was to take advantage of the expertise and equipment available in the hospital. It was initially designed as a 200-bedded hospital and gradually increased to 450-beds at its current strength. It is home to the National Trauma Center, built in 2014, with an 8-bedded trauma intensive care unit (ICU). In addition, there is another 7-bedded ICU that exists in the main hospital where non-trauma cases are managed. The neurosurgery and neuroanesthesia services in this hospital were started in the year 2000. Prof. B.B Shehu, a famous Nigerian neurosurgeon, was initially employed as a visiting consultant; later on, Drs. Anthony Anigbo and Biodun Ogumgbo joined him. The anesthesia department was formed with Drs. Okunuga, Ekumankama, and Akpa as the Consultant Anesthetists of the hospital in its early stage. Currently, there are eight consultant anesthetists and 20 resident doctors in the department of anesthesia; the author heads the unit of Neuroanesthesia.

There are a few private neurosurgical hospitals in Abuja (North Central Nigeria). Most of the patients are referred from different parts of Nigeria, especially the Northern region. Over the past four years, about 1000 neurosurgical procedures were performed in this hospital, including complex spine surgeries, craniotomies for brain tumors, traumatic brain injury, clipping of intracranial aneurysms, and pediatric neuro-oncology and malformations.

To be a qualified anesthetist in Nigeria, one must attend medical school for six years. Residency in anesthesia takes a minimum of 4-5 years; junior residency program in an accredited center for 2-3 years followed by a senior residency program for another two years. After becoming a fellow of Post-Graduate College, one can be appointed as a consultant anesthetist. The Nigerian Society of Anaesthetists (NSA) is an active umbrella organization for all physician anesthetists in Nigeria. NSA regularly organizes an annual conference and is involved in advocacy, training, and capacity building for anesthesia services.

At the National Hospital, Abuja, full accreditation programs in Anesthesia, including Neuroanesthesia, from both the National Postgraduate Medical College of Nigeria and West African College of Surgeons, is available. Anesthesia residents from all over Nigeria participate in the program. They are exposed to six-month neuroanesthesia posting for both part-1 and part-2 final examinations under the aegis of both the postgraduate colleges. With a humble beginning of Neuroanesthesia as a subspeciality, we aspire to achieve further from international collaborations, exposures, and shared expertise from renowned neuroanesthetists.

National Hospital

National Hospital Abuja, Nigeria

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