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Year : 2008  |  Volume : 11  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 291-295

Neurosurgery in Nigeria--an evaluation of the perception of health personnel in a new centre and a comparison of the Nigerian situation with that of other African states

Department of Surgery, Nnamdi Azikiwe University & Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital Nnewi, Anambra State, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
J K Emejulu
Department of Surgery, Nnamdi Azikiwe University & Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital Nnewi, Anambra State, Nigeria

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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

PMID: 19320396

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BACKGROUND: Neurosurgery has become endangered species in Nigeria. We have only 15 practising neurosurgeons for our population of 150 million, giving a ratio of one neurosurgeon to 10 million Nigerians. Of the 26 accredited medical schools, only 6 offer neurosurgery. This study is a preliminary evaluation of the perceptions about neurosurgery before the commencement of neurosurgical services in a tertiary health institution, and a comparison with the situation in other African countries. METHODOLOGY: A questionnaire designed after the 5-point Likert rating scale was distributed to doctors, nurses, final-year medical/nursing students, paramedics and administrative staff of the 350-bed health institution. The completed questionnaires that were returned, were collated and data analysis done. RESULTS: Out of 200 questionnaires distributed, 164 were completed and returned. Most of the respondents were females 59.1%, and most were in the 20 30 year age group, 57.3%; more than 96% stated that they have heard of neurosurgery previously, but rated the available services in Nigeria as inadequate 50.6%, and quality of services as fair 39.6% or poor 36.6%, respectively. In their opinion, political and administrative lapses rather than funding are responsible for the poor state of affairs, culminating in unavailability of adequate manpower and facilities. Health policy changes and provision of facilities with manpower training were suggested by 78% of respondents as the solution to the problem. Most, however agree that neurosurgery has good prospects 78%, in the institution. CONCLUSION: Neurosurgical service in Nigeria is grossly inadequate both in availability and quality, and these have resulted from bad government policies. It is therefore of utmost necessity that services and training be urgently provided in this specialty, at least in the tertiary institutions in Nigeria.

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