Wednesday, 2 June 2010

NSNS meeting in Kaduna

I am glad that I was able to attend the last meeting of the Nigerian Society of Neurological Sciences (NSNS) in Kaduna. I really wasn’t sure what to expect and was pleasantly surprised at the way it turned out. The meeting, ably organised by the team from Zaria was an eye opener for me and an interesting spectacle. The local organising committee championed by Drs Jimoh and Mahmud deserve praise for a job well done. I heard from many people that this was the best NSNS meeting so far and set the bar higher than the event in Benin. It means that the society is improving steadily and increasing its appeal and support base. The future is bright.

I will not recount all that happened at the meeting. That, I believe is the prerogative of the secretary of the NSNS. But, I would like to talk about the highlights of the meeting from the neurosurgical point of view. Before that though, one low point was that I missed most of the neurosurgical presentations: because the organisers put my papers on stroke and cervical spine trauma among the neurology presentations. Not that it dampened my spirits as the neurologists appeared interested in my comments. They might even have benefitted from the presentations.

Anyway, one high point was the presentation by Simon Humphrey from Codman on the new Bactiseal Unitized Shunt (BUS). This is a device that will be of benefit to some of our patients. Professor Shokunbi made some important comments regarding its use in post meningitic hydrocephalic patients where its price may be well justified. This led us to discussions on the need for and benefits of a Nigerian Shunt Registry. Similar to other registries now in existence especially in the UK. Professor Shehu supports the idea and hopes that collectively we can realise this laudable initiative. It can even be done as an online registry accessible by all anywhere in the country.

The second highlight for me was the meeting of neurosurgeons with the representatives from Codman and Johnson & Johnson. This was really incredible and of real value.

The companies manufacture a lot of instruments and consumables of benefit to our practice. Stuff such as shunts, shunt passers, surgicel, patties, aneurysm clips and the Microsensor for ICP monitoring are stuff that I have been particularly desperate for in Abuja. To find that they are now only an hour away in Lagos or at the most 2-3 weeks following placing an order is heart-warming. I am excited on behalf of our patients.

This meeting also highlighted the need for closer cooperation between us neurosurgeons. This was the focus of a discussion between Professors Ohaegbulam, Shokunbi, and Drs Mezue and Ogungbo. We need to work together and improve on our expertise. We need to be able to access equipment in different parts of the country and inter refer patients to each other. That way we might be able to counter the medical tourism of patients outside Nigeria. If we can work together, we can operate safely and provide a more comprehensive care for Nigerians.