UNAM to provide special anaesthesia programme

09 Jun 2016 07:20am
WINDHOEK, 09 JUN (NAMPA) – The University of Namibia (UNAM) and the University of Cardiff in the United Kingdom (UK) are working towards establishing a post graduate special training programme in anaesthesia here under the Phoenix Project.
The Phoenix Project is a collaborative project between UNAM and Cardiff University that concentrates on projects which promote health and alleviate poverty.
Medical schools here do not provide a masters or postgraduate training in anaesthetics.
Webster Rusheshe, a Zimbabwean-born doctor based in the United Kingdom (UK), told Nampa on the sidelines of the Namibia Airway Conference (NAC) here on Tuesday that once that programme is setup properly it will alleviate the shortage of anaesthetists across Namibia.
“At the moment, we have some people who work as surgeons with very basic training in anaesthetics, so they can only anaesthetise in emergency cases in districts, while patients for bigger operations are referred to Windhoek or bigger towns,” he said.
Rusheshe is one of the doctors facilitating the three-day NAC underway in the capital.
The conference, which started on 07 June, is a joined initiative by UNAM and Cardiff University.
It aims to teach health professionals skills to be able to maintain an airway - the passage by which air reaches a person’s lungs.
Anaesthetics is a drug that puts a patient to “sleep” and induce pain in such person when undergoing an operation.
“If you cannot maintain an airway and not deliver oxygen to a patient it can have fatal consequences like brain damage that can lead to death, that is why this conference is so important,” he explained.
Lancet Publications of June 2008 estimates that major operations on 234 million people are done every year globally.
Minister of Health and Social Services, Bernard Haufiku, in a speech delivered on his behalf at the same occasion, said the estimated figure exceeds the yearly global volume of childbirth, which was estimated at 136 million births in 2006.
“Going by these estimates, one in every 25 human being is expected to undergo surgery throughout their lifetime. This translates to about 88 000 Namibians every year,” he said.
The participants attending the NAC include health professionals from Botswana, Zimbabwe and South Africa.