FIBROID Treatment: Nigeria’s Advances in the Health Sector, by Aishat M. Abisola

Recently, when I joined Image Merchants, publishers of PRNigeria and Economic Confidential as an intern, I was given the task of publishing relevant reports on their new publication “Health Digest”.

It was while researching health stories that my attention came to a report of a health facility, the Nordica Fibroid Care Center in Lagos, where fibroid patients are treated with open surgery.

The word “fibroid” aroused my curiosity because my mother and my aunt had the disease and were treated outside of Nigeria because they were both treated in Argentina and South Africa respectively, where they lived.

I am not fully aware of the circumstances surrounding my aunt’s operation, but I remember how my mother’s operation went. In September 2014, she felt severe stomach pains and decided to see a doctor that weekend. When she saw the doctor, who performed an analysis and discovered that she had a uterine fibroid, my mother was immediately invited to see a gynecologist and she went to a hospital in Argentina called “Hospital Aleman”.

She chose the resident gynecologist, Dr. Ernesto Garcia, for her surgery called myectomy. She was advised not to eat anything on the day of her operation. Her operation took place a few days later and lasted no more than 2-3 hours. She woke up as they took her back to her room. She spent two more days in the hospital just to make sure everything was okay and her recovery period was fast enough.

Returning to the article I read online, I was impressed that the Nigerian health sector is witnessing improvements in health facilities, especially for women and children who suffer from various ailments.

I was even more surprised when I read that the fibroid treatment method used in Lagos was more advanced than my mother’s. We have always been told that the health sector is deteriorating in Nigeria, but this development has influenced my interest in health communication, especially on the latest developments and innovations for healthy well-being.

It is undeniable that in the sector certain medical structures are neglected while doctors and health workers lack adequate tools, especially in public hospitals to take care of a growing number of patients.

The impressive fibroid facility in Lagos has a very advanced treatment procedure and fast recovery time.

The procedure itself is called High Intensity Focused Ultrasound (HIFU). It is non-invasive and uses ultrasound and high intensity ultrasound waves to generate heat to target fibroids and destroy them. This form of technology was introduced in 2002 at the University of Oxford, UK. Since its introduction, this technology has been found in more than 28 countries and regions around the world, Nigeria now being one of them. HIFU has successfully treated more than 150,000 cases of benign and malignant tumors.

With the HIFU procedure, the recovery time is very short and patients can resume their usual activities the next day. There is no risk of blood loss or damage to organs or tissues, the use of anesthesia is minimal, and the risk of complications is low. HIFU also preserves fertility, so women who undergo this procedure are able to conceive and have normal pregnancies thereafter. People with adenomyosis who are unsuitable for surgery or wish to avoid it are eligible for the procedure.

There are a few things that need to be taken into consideration before undergoing this procedure. Before each session, the patient must not have sexual intercourse 3 days before the treatment. She must shave her pubic area and remove intrauterine devices (IUDs), small contraceptive devices that are inserted into the uterus (womb) to prevent pregnancy.

In addition, the patient should perform an enema to clean the intestines and have a light diet 3 days before the procedure. A liquid diet the day before and do not eat 8 hours before the procedure.

After each session, the patient is recommended to remain still for about two hours after the treatment; she can have liquid food 2 hours after treatment and normal food can resume after 24 hours. She can insert the IUD after 3 menstrual cycles. She should follow up with ultrasound and MRI, which is advised 3, 6 and 12 months after treatment.

With the encouraging development of the Nigerian healthcare sector, there may be no reason to travel abroad for medical treatment. As more Nigerian doctors leave the country in droves and there is not much left to care for the large population left behind, we must commend those who are left behind to help our country.

Despite all the bad stories and developments, the cloud hanging over the healthcare sector has started to show its silver lining. The establishment of the Nordica Fibroid Care Center shows that there are still Nigerian doctors who sacrifice themselves to ensure that citizens receive the best treatment at home. This shows that there is still hope for the Nigerian health sector, even in the darkest times. Nigerians will always rise above any problem.

Aishat M. Abisola

Wuye District Abuja

Comments are closed.