By Emmanuel Antswen
The Federal Medical Centre (FMC) Makurdi, has started spinal surgery and has successfully operated on five patients so far, the Chief Medical Director (CMD) of the centre, Dr Peteru Inunduh, said.
He told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday in Makurdi that the centre was the first health facility to conduct spinal surgery in Benue.
Spinal surgery is done to correct spinal fusion, also called spondylodesis or spondylosyndesis.
It is a neurosurgical or orthopedic surgical technique that joins two or more vertebrae, usually to relieve pain caused by nerve root pinching.
Inunduh said that the centre had trained consultant and specialist in Spine and Orthopedics in Egypt for the purpose “and since his return in 2017, the orthopedic surgeon carried out five successful spinal surgeries.”
The CMD added that 20 medical doctors of the centre were undergoing various specialist training around the world.
He said that the state government was ready to procure equipment for the spinal surgery theater, adding that “FMC Makurdi has seven standard theaters to accommodate the needs of trained specialists.
“We realised that equipment for spinal surgery are expensive and decided to have sub head in the 2018 budget for the purchase of medical equipment, and we intend to buy between 70 and 75 per cent of the equipment needed for such surgery.
“Apart from the spine orthopedic consultants we trained in Egypt, we also trained a consultant in India that specialises in plastic surgery, while another doctor gets set to go to India for gastroenteritis.
“We have 20 doctors who have either completed their training or are undergoing different kinds of specialists training locally and internationally.”
The director explained that the centre had palliatives that accommodate indigent patients through the Department of Medical and Social Works where some patients who could not afford their medical bills were treated.
“We have indigent patients, we know they need healthcare services but they cannot afford, we don’t insist that they pay, we have a programme to attend to such patients without necessary collecting money from them, the programme is coordinated by Department of Medical and Social Works.
“Our joy is to provide services to Nigerians.”
Inunduh said that the centre recently unofficially inaugurated a four-suit theater with areas for recovery and administrative purposes.
Corroborating the CMD’s position, the Egypt trained Spine Orthopedic Surgeon, Dr Joseph Okoh, said the Federal Government, through the management of FMC Makurdi, supported him for the training.
Okoh, who said that the first spinal surgery was conducted during the last industrial action by JOHESU, added that it was successful.
He added that “since I came back from Egypt where I did my specialisation in Spine Orthopedics, we have done five spinal surgeries and all of them were successful because the symptoms that gave reasons for the operation disappeared afterward.
Mrs Monica Vanger, the first patient to undergo the spinal surgery at FMC Makurdi, commended the centre “for rendering services with human face.”
Vanger, who sustained spine injury due to car accident, said she was incapacitated for two months,
adding, however, that within three weeks of the surgery, she could walk.
She added that “after the accident, initially I had no challenge, I had a fracture and was treated. The issue I had was intermediate waste pain which I was taking drugs.
“As time progressed, I started having consistent severe waste pain and was later discovered that my kidney was affected and I went to Abuja where I received about four to five sessions of dialysis in a week, but when the kidney injury was cured, I could not walk.
“The pain became severe and I became paralysed for about two months and decided to go to FMC Makurdi, where this surgery was done and withing three weeks, I could walk. The financial commitment was affordable.”