Nigerian Journal of Orthopaedics and Trauma

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Spine surgery practice in Nigeria: present perceptions and future trends

A.A Kawu, O.A Salami


Background: Spine surgery is an emerging orthopaedic surgery subspecialty in Nigeria. There are about 2 designated spine surgeons and about 10 other orthopaedic surgeons and neurosurgeons that operate on the spine for 140 million Nigerians. This study is an evaluation of the perception of the health workers in the University of Abuja Teaching Hospital, Gwagwalada about spine practice in Abuja and its future trend in this centre.

Methodology: Questionnaire was distributed to the health workers including doctors, pharmacists, nurses, laboratory scientists and technicians, administrative staff of the University of Abuja Teaching Hospital, Gwagwalada based on 5-point Likert rating to assess perceptions and future trends of spine care in this centre.

Result: Two hundred and fifty questionnaires were distributed and 160(64.0%) were duly filled and returned. Majority of the respondents were female within age group 15-44yrs. Few of these respondents were aware of spine surgery as a subspecialty of orthopaedic surgery. This group rated the spine service available in Nigeria as poor. Majority of the respondents claimed that the cause of the poor service availability and delivery result from lack of facilities, funding and inadequate manpower. Funding, policies change and effective implementation was suggested as a definitive solution. Majority of the respondents, however agreed that there is a future for spine surgery practice in our institution

Conclusion: Spine care in Nigeria is inadequate both qualitatively and in ease of access. These were attributed to poor policy development and implementation. The need to train spine specialists and provision of requisite facilities would improve spine care practice in Nigeria.

Keywords: Spinecare, subspecialty, Nigeria, Likert rating
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