Critical care services in Nigeria like other West African countries had been hampered by government apathy towards funding of hospitals capital and manpower flight overseas.
Recently, things are somewhat improving with the government’s willingness to invest more in healthcare, and clampdown on resource diversion in the country.
To save capital flight overseas and provide improved health care services, the 68 Nigerian Army Reference Hospital Yaba (NARHY) Lagos under the Command of Brig. Gen. CB Wanda, Consultant ENT Surgeon last Tuesday, Commissioned the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of the hospital during its annual medical lecture.
Speaking during the occasion, obviously elated Wanda, the Commander of 68 NARHY said that the new Intensive Care Unit is meant to serve both military and civilian patients of the hospital who are in need of critical care.
An intensive care unit (ICU), also known as an intensive therapy unit or intensive treatment unit (ITU) or critical care unit (CCU) or Emergency Treatment Unit, is a special department of a hospital or health care facility that provides intensive care medicine.
Intensive care units cater to patients with severe and life-threatening illnesses and injuries, which require constant, close monitoring and support from specialist equipment and medications in order to ensure normal bodily functions.
According to him, the era of moving patients from 68 NARHY to other hospitals like Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) to obtain similar services is gone.
To this effect, the Ear, Nose & Throat (ENT) surgeon said that the hospital is now fully equipped and ready to serve patients with severe and life-threatening illnesses and injuries, which require constant, close monitoring and support from specialist equipment and medications in order to ensure normal bodily functions.
He also said that the 68 NARHY ICU is staffed by highly trained doctors and nurses who specialise in caring for critically ill-patients.
It is also distinguished from normal hospital wards by a higher staff-to-patient ratio and access to advanced medical resources and equipment that is not routinely available elsewhere, he said, adding that common conditions including, Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) trauma, multiple organ failure and sepsis can now be treated at 68 NARHY ICU.
He also explained that patients may be transferred directly to an intensive care unit from an emergency department if required, or from a ward if they rapidly deteriorate, or immediately after surgery if the surgery is very invasive and the patient is at high risk of complications.
Highlights of the occasion were the lectures presented by the Corps Commander Medical, Maj. Gen. OA Ogunbiyi CMH and the guest lecturer, Dr Ibironke Desalu, Associate Professor of Anaesthesia of the Lagos University Teaching Hospital.
Wanda who is the Commander of 68 NARHY further observed that the Intensive Care Unit was developed by the previous Commander Maj. Gen. PAA Falola, Consultant, Ophthalmology and completed by him.
He encouraged those who have patients in need of intensive care to avail themselves of the opportunity presented by the new Intensive Care Unit.
Commenting, the guest lecturer, Dr. Desalu, that this is good and landmark development in the management of the critically ill patients and commended 68 NARHY for such an achievement.
The first ICU in Nigeria was established at the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital (UNTH), Enugu, in 1973, following the successful management of cardiac surgery patients there. Subsequently, other Federal Universities/tertiary care centres developed their own ICUs.
The ICU was commissioned by the Maj. Gen. Ogunbiyi alongside the guest speaker and other guests in attendance.
The memorable event was attended by eminent scholars from many private, specialist and public hospitals, including LUTH, National Orthopaedic among others.
This story was published in Newswatch Times on December 31, 2015.