Dr. Mohammed Salihu, Medical Director, National Orthopaedic Hospital Dala (NOHD) says the hospital will further partner with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), to establish a Prosthetic and Orthotic Centre in Maiduguri, Borno.
Prosthetics and orthotics are clinical disciplines that deal with artificial limbs (prostheses) for people with amputations and supportive devices (orthoses), for people with musculoskeletal weakness or neurological disorders.
Salihu said this in an interview with newsmen who were on a visit to ICRC Prosthetic and Orthotic Centre at NOHD in Kano.
The centre was established in 2016, under the ICRC Prosthetic Rehabilitation Programme (PRP), to rehabilitate people with disabilities, who were affected by arm conflict in the North-East.
No fewer than 608 amputees of bomb blast and other explosions from the North-East and Kano had benefited from the programme since 2016.
“We are partnering with them (ICRC) to establish a similar centre in Borno; that we are happy about with, it will not likely stop the number of patients that come here.
“We are already overwhelmed, we handle patients from most parts of Northern Nigeria and part of the Niger Republic, Central African Republic, Cameroon, and Chad; if there is another centre in Borno, to us it a good thing.
“We are partnering with ICRC to train individuals who are going to work in Maiduguri to provide similar artificial limbs.
“We are also hoping in the future, we are going to partner in a few other areas in terms of establishing Prosthesis and Orthotics schools in these institutions.
“It is something that is in my 2020 agenda and I hope we will be able to get there soon.’’
He further explained that the hospital partnered with ICRC in the provision of artificial limbs to amputees, especially from the North-East, along the line they extended the provision to some patients in Kano.
“They offered support for individuals who had suffered from the absence of lower or upper limbs; it is a great assistance for them to go back to normal life.
“Not only that the ICRC is giving artificial limbs. They are also partnering with us in terms of training; they have trained some of our Surgeons.
“They have trained them on how to manage severe trauma, particularly the early face of Trauma and that has actually helped to boost the human resources.
“ICRC has not stopped there; they also help sometimes to provide some consumables for the hospital.
“We have carried our partnership a little beyond that as I am talking to you, ICRC has brought in some students from Maiduguri to come and understudy what we do here in the Prosthetic Department of the Hospital.
“So that when they are well trained, they can go back to Maiduguri and establish similar facilities there because we need to do what is sustainable,’’ he said.
The medical director, however, allayed fears about the sustainability of the programme, saying “there is no fear if the programme stops we are prepared to sustain it.
“They are not moving out with any equipment, so when we have the equipment on the ground, 50 per cent of the problem is solved.
“The only thing we are discussing with ICRC is how to get raw materials.
“Also, ICRC has assisted us with a slot for two Kano indigenes that have gone to Tanzania for specialised training in this area,’’ he said.
Similarly, ICRC’s Ortho–Prosthetist, Ms. Idah Kadyamatimba told newsmen that the Prosthetic and Orthotic Centre in Maiduguri, Borno centre would be opened by 2020.
“Dala Hospital has already Prosthetic and Orthotics Department; While ICRC has to partner with them to provide access to rehabilitation for people in the North East.
“Looking at the numbers we are dealing with, it was not possible for the hospital to manage it alone.
“The plan is to partner with the hospital to work in Markurdi centre and the centre is expected to be opened in 2020.
“ICRC has invested also in the training of staff who will work in the centre,’’ she said.