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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

Abstract


Background
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
Aim
The purpose of this paper is to document the process of the establishment of a neurosurgical center in West Africa.
Methodology
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.
Results
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.
Conclusion
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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