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Impact of 2 KidsORs in Abuja

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A chat with Professor Emmanuel Ameh: Chief Consultant Paediatric Surgeon, National Hospital in Abuja 

My hospital used to have four main Operating Rooms for all specialists. Often, when there was an emergency, we would have to wait for access. Everyday, there are three or four emergencies.

There were three paediatric surgeons given just one day for operations. Simple cases, like hernias, would end up backlogged. Parents would get frustrated and take their child to other hospitals for help. In most cases, they'd be forced to return to us in order to receive the best treatment.

Operating just once a week also meant trainees were only accessing practical lessons once a week. This lack of practical experience was delaying their training and stalling their progression.

Kids Operating Room's installation of 2 dedicated paediatric theatres changed this. Each paediatric surgeon now operates two days a week - double their previous output! This has helped cut down the waiting time for both major and minor surgeries.

Previously, the lack of equipment left us improvising. To keep babies warm we'd use hot water in IV fluid sacks and radiant warmers. It was too hot for the surgeons to work comfortably.It might sound unbelievable but there was often conflict among surgeons, nurses, and anaesthetics. There were conflicts of improper tools which of course affected the efficiency of our work. If you are handed an improper tool during surgery and the nurse said 'that’s what we have', what do you do? Now, we have all the equipment we need.

The new Operating Rooms also allow access for other specialties. Neuro, orthopaedics, ENT are all practiced in our theatres. Before, we could only perform one major case per week. Now we do four to six!

The benefits don't stop there.

We can now perform around 10 routine cases a day.

Waiting times have been slashed and the quality of our care has improved significantly.

Parents only complaints now are that the dates given for surgery are too soon!

And anaesthetists and nurses are gaining even more invaluable experience. This is huge - having paediatric surgeons alone is not enough.

So how does the equipment help us? For example, a hernia surgery could take us around two hours because we were using adult tools. Now it takes just 45 minutes to one hour, opening up time for more operations.

Our trainees are now able to complete their learning in time and are getting the necessary exposure that they need.

It also means we can now do more complex surgeries, that before, simply would not have been possible.

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