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Anaesthesia workforce and infrastructure in a north central state of Nigeria: a survey

Samuel I. Nuhu
Henry Y. Embu
Abraham A. Onoja
Daniel Dung


Background: Anaesthesia has evolved over the decades to have become a specialty in medicine. The dearth of personnel and unavailability of required equipment world over has made safe delivery of anaesthesia difficult. This study evaluated workforce situation and availability of anaesthetic drugs/equipment in public secondary health facilities.

Methods: A multi-centre study using an interviewer administered questionnaire was carried out in September 2013. Information about the anaesthesia personnel situation, surgical work force, as well as infrastructure, equipment and drugs was obtained.

Results: Nine (64.3%) out of the 14 public hospitals surveyed had general physicians (medical officers who performed surgeries) and nurse anaesthetists. Ten (71.4%) of the hospitals had at least one back-up generator as a source of electricity. All the hospitals had laryngoscopes but there were no functional anaesthetic machines and none had oxygen or pulse oximeters. None of the hospitals had pipe-borne water though 11 (78.6%) had wells as a source of their water supply. However, 12 (85.7%) of the hospitals had laboratories where blood could be grouped and cross matched.

Conclusion: There is a dearth of anesthetic and surgical workforce and basic infrastructure in public hospitals. Capacity building, revamping of existing infrastructure and workforce expansion in anaesthesia is needed as an integral part of tackling the burden of surgical diseases.

Keywords: Anaesthetic workforce, infrastructure, equipment, drugs, Plateau State, Nigeria

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eISSN: 1596-2407