By Kehinde Idowu
The Nigerian Association of Plastic Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons (NAPRAS) and Nigeria Burn Injury Society (NBIS) held their joint 21st Annual Scientific Conference and their 9th Scientific Conference respectively from the 1st – 5th of September 2015. The event took place at Leisure Spring Hotel, Iwo road, Osogbo, Osun State.
The theme of the 5-day conference, “Plastic Surgery; Beyond Reconstruction” was aptly chosen to address the occurrence of burn injury which is responsible for one third of deaths caused by unintentional injury.
The partnership of both association, NAPRAS and NBIS had members and practitioners come together to interact and to share ideas for the purpose of improving the quality of the health care system, especially burn injury patients in Nigeria. There were lectures held at different sessions in the program.
The dignitaries present at the opening ceremony included representatives of the Governor of the State of Osun; Head of Service to the governor, Mr Sunday Owoeye and the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, Mr Temitope Oladele and also the Afaoja OF OJA OBA.
The Head of Service to the governor, Mr Sunday Owoeye welcomed those in attendance at the conference to the State of Osun: the Land of Living Spring and used the opportunity to suggest the tourist attraction in the State: Osun-Osogbo groove, Erin Ijesha, Ife. This was thereafter followed by a speech by both the president of NAPRAS, Prof Simon J. Yiltok and the President of NBIS, DR O.O Onumaegbu welcoming his colleagues in the profession and other medical practitioner to the conference.
Q: What is the aim and objective of this annual conference?
A: It is one of the avenues in NAPRAS to meet once in a year so that members would be able to interact to share ideas and experiences and challenges in the different centers of the country so as to improve the practice of plastic surgery in Nigeria.
Q: From the preceding years till now, how has the practice of plastic surgery improved?
A: It has made people aware of the practice and more people are interested in training round the country.
Q: What are the challenges faced in organizing the program?
A: Any program you want to put together you must think about money, especially when companies are saying the economy is bad. So it is a major challenge.
Q: How do you address the problem of raising funds?
A: Start early to raise funds. And also to look inwards to raise money to make a good meeting.
Q: What are the highlights of the 5-day program?
A: There are going to be different presentations of papers from different part of plastic surgery. This is also an election year; election of new executive members into the planning committee for NAPRAS and NBIS. On Saturday there would be a presentation of surgery by a visiting UK based plastic surgeon.
Q: From the inception of the annual convention till date, how has it influenced the practices of plastic surgery, especially Burn plastic surgeons in treating their patient?
A: It is our 9th annual meeting and there has been improvement. It was formerly Burn society but now Nigeria Burn society. It was mainly doctors but now there are nurses, dieticians and other doctors and other non-practitioners. It is not just a professional, it is a body of everyone who has a stake in Burn care, even patients treated for burn surgery have a stake in burn care. So those have been tremendous improvements because medical practitioners and non-medical practitioners are becoming active.
Q: People are not really aware of plastic surgery being practiced in Nigeria, when plastic surgery is mentioned, the option that comes to mind to most Nigerians is getting it abroad. How can awareness be created?
A: Nigeria is a very highly populated country of over 160 million and yet the total number of plastic surgeon practicing in Nigeria is just roughly a hundred. That means a plastic surgeon to over a million of Nigerians, it is not surprising that people see more of it than here. Over the years, the numbers of practicing plastic surgeons have increased. In West Africa, Nigeria has the highest number of plastic surgeons in the country even though not enough. We are not yet there but we are actually moving forward and not backwards.
DR I. S Ogbanaya – Consultant Plastic Surgeon and Guest speaker
Q: How has improvement been from the inception of plastic surgery till now?
A: There has been great and tremendous improvements in plastic surgery in Nigeria since inception. There are many more trained and exposed plastic surgeons now compared to 50 years ago when it began in the country. There are better equipment on ground than several years ago as well as clients are increasing. Before plastic surgeons were saddled with management of burns and leg ulcers and pressure and the like, but now in addition to those reconstructive areas, patients are beginning to come for aesthetic surgery such as: breast reduction, abdominal pasty or tummy-tuck, breast lift and augumentations, buttocks loop and lift and others and there is now laser services that was not available before. Therefore better services. So it is now better now than it used to be.
Q: How about creating awareness?
A: These services are available and are being done and people are accessing them to avail themselves of the services locally. Apart from serving the patients when treated here, there is commitment to the patient which is lacking when they go outside. Irrespective of wherever you go, home is home, the commitment cannot be compared especially when there are complications due to the limited time they are allowed to stay. There have been patients who developed complication when they got to Nigeria and that had to be tidied up.
Mrs Adenike Akinyemi – Head Dietics Department Lautech teaching
Q: How important is diet for recuperating of a burn patient?
A: It plays an important role in the management of burn patients. In burn cases depending on the degrees, it determines the rate of catabolic reactions and the amount of nutrients being used by the body to replace the lost nutrients to enhance and speedup healing. There is need for lots of nutrients especially lots of carbohydrates and protein. Diet is an important role in the management of patients and generally in other surgery patients. There are also cases before surgery where the patient needs to shed or reduce weight and also patient that has diabetes and the blood glucose is high. It has to stabilize before the patient goes in for surgery. Diet is important in the management of hospital patients in general.