African Journal of Neurological Sciences

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Establishing new neurosurgical facilities in resource-limited settings: Overcoming challenges in West Africa

D Okon Udoh


The first neurosurgical facility in West Africa was established in 1962 at the University College Hospital, Ibadan, Nigeria. However, by 2000, the average neurosurgeon to population ratio remained 1: 10,000,000
The purpose of this paper is to document the process of the establishment of a neurosurgical center in West Africa.
We reviewed the records with respect to the establishment of the neurosurgical center at a University of Benin Teaching Hospital in West Africa. These records included references to reasons for establishment of the neurosurgical facility; building acquisition; staff recruitment and training; neurosurgical and diagnostic equipment acquisition; commencement of neurosurgical procedures. The challenges faced and strategies for overcoming them are also documented.
Over five years, we established a fully dedicated neurosurgical facility with thirty specialty nurses and other in-house staff, and a capacity for thirty to forty-five in-patient admissions. Most neurosurgical conditions peculiar to the environment can now be managed at this facility.
With minimal available resources, a functioning neurosurgical unit may be established in almost any part of West Africa to meet the needs of the environment.

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