Intensive Care Units in Nigeria not for palliative care — EXPERTS

By Chioma Obinna

Experts in Critical Care have called for the strengthening of Intensive Care Unit, ICU, from a mere palliative centre to a transformed maintenance of high- need patients in order to improve clinical outcomes.

The experts who noted that perception about ICUs has been a place for dying people stated that the Unit should be a centre where high patient recovery is recorded and higher standard of health care services delivered.

They regretted that the country’s health sector is suffering from systematic collapse for various reasons, including lack of state-of-the-art technology, adequate man-power supply and inadequate funding.

The experts, who gathered during the Mid-Year Guest Lecture 2017 of the Campbell Street Clinical Group, further noted that the systematic crisis will take time to change as investors are presently being careful due to the state of the country’s health insurance.

In his lecture entitled: “The Intensive Care Unit: The Nigerian Experience”,  a Consultant, Anaesthesia, Critical Care and Medical Simulation, Dr. Seyi Oyesola said in order to improve clinical outcomes, in order that patient should not die, in order that patient recovery has higher standard and is quick, intensive care unit must be developed and maintained. “Nigeria will begin to see the state of intensive care improve.”

According to him, a person in an ICU needs constant medical attention and support to keep their body functioning. They may be unable to breathe on their own and have multiple organ failure but medical equipment will take the place of these functions while the person recovers.

“Healthcare is expensive, so is intensive care. Improving clinical outcomes in Nigeria, we have to look at the way we make our ICUs a reality.”

Oyesola who listed how hospitals and health systems can address the challenges of acquiring an effective ICU maintained that the cornerstone for healthcare was funding.

“We should start protesting about the poor state of healthcare in our country that should be our first port of call. Now where money is concerned there are several philanthropic and non philanthropic cooperate social responsibility methods for raising funds, but for me the cornerstone is this, when you say you are going to raise funds for health care whether ICU or any other thing, don’t ask them for money, ask for equipment, the moment you start asking them for money, the attitude is different. You can request they should pay for the cost of the x-rays etc., I think you will have a lot more of success.

Oyesola said palliative care is care of patients with active, progressive, far-advanced disease with limited life expectancy. “It is a vital component of the basic essential services within the Universal Health Coverage as defined by the World Health Organisation, WHO.

“End of life care should be part of our patient management strategy in the system of healthcare in Nigeria and we really need to stop using ICU as a palliative centre”

He warned that only a patient with high chances of survival should be admitted into the ICU.

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