From Priscilla Ediare, Ado Ekiti
The non-availability of liver transplantation services in Nigeria and its prohibitive cost, when accessed outside the shores of the country, have been identified as some of the challenges in the country’s health sector.
This formed part of the communique issued at the end of the 14th Annual General Meeting and Scientific Conference of Society for Gastroenterology and Hepatology in Nigeria (SOGHIN) held between 18 and 22 July 2022 in Kano, Kano State.
The conference focused on the theme, “Burden and Challenges of Managing Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders (FGIDS) and the sub-themes, “Advanced Gastrointestinal Endoscopy Training and practice in Low Resource Setting, Challenges of Hepatobiliary Surgery and Liver Transplantation in Nigeria, Gut Microbiata in Health and Diseases and Achieving the WHO 2030 Viral Hepatitis Targets in Nigeria.”
Theme guest speaker and a Professor of Medicine and Consultant Physician/Gastroenterologist at the University of Nigeria and University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, Ituku Ozalla, Enugu State, Prof Sylvester Chuks Nwokeduiko described Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders(FGIDS) as a group of disorders characterized by chronic gastrointestinal symptoms in the absence of any demonstrable pathology on convectional testing.
According to Prof Nwokeduiko, “that further accounts for some unnecessary surgical operations in our country.”
Meanwhile, in the communique, the conference observed the dwindling priority and the lukewarm stance of governments at all levels in funding the diagnosis, treatment and research of viral hepatitis in Nigeria.
It noted the progress reports on the publication of national SOGHIN guidelines in chronic Hepatitis B and C, GERD and Dyspepsia, Hepatocellular Carcinona (HCC) and Colorectal Carcinona (CRC). The conference frowned at the mass exodus of highly health professionals including gastroenterologists and endoscopy nurses as well as trainees in gastroenterology and Hepatology abroad for greener pastures.
The Communique jointly signed by the SOGHIN President, Prof Jesse A Otegbayo and the Secretary-General, Prof Olusegun Alatishe, canvassed the continued strategic engagements at appropriate quarters to achieve the establishment of Liver Transplantation and Centre of Excellence in digestive diseases achieving the WHO 2030 Vital Hepatitis eradication and the building of a national secretariat in Abuja.
The Conference also urged the government to address the brain drain through the provision of a conducive environment for the health workers, the creation of jobs with commensurate remuneration, adequate funding of the health sector and provision of local incentives to stem the current tide.
It also expressed concerns about the worsening state of insecurity which manifests in the insurgency, kidnappings, banditry, and other forms of armed attack in the country.
The conference was declared open by His Excellency, the Governor of Kano State; Dr Abdullahi Umar Ganduje who was represented by the Secretary to the Governor of Kano State; Alhaji Usman Alhaji, and chaired by Alhaji Rabiu Isyaku Rabiu, a prominent Nigerian Businessman and Philanthropist based in Kano.
Others at the ceremony are, the Chief Medical Director of Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital, Kano; Prof Abdurahman Abba Sheshe and the Vice-Chancellor of Bayero University; Prof Sagri Adamu Abbas represented by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Research and Development of Bayero University, Kano; Prof Mahmud Sani.
The Royal father of the day was His Royal Highness, the Emir of Kano; Alhaji Aminu Ado Bayero represented by Dan Kaden Kano. The climax of the opening ceremony was the donation of a building complex for the take-off of the Liver Transplantation and Centre of Excellence for digestive diseases in Nigeria by the Chairman of the opening ceremony; Alhaji Rabiu Isyaku Rabiu and his brother Alhaji Abdulsamad Rabiu, the founder of BUA Group of companies.