Blog

Blog

Nigerian artist makes dark skin prosthetics to boost patients’ confidence


No Comments

There is a lot of uncertainty and anxiety in society at the moment, Medics’ Inn would like to share with our community something positive.

Seun Sanni and Nneka Chile wrote a fantastic report on John Amanam, a Nigerian artist solving the problem of unrealistic prosthetic limbs for darker skin. He creates realistic and affordable limb prostheses, giving many people the opportunity to have a better quality of life. We’ve included this short interview from Youtube, but you can read more by reading the full article written by Seun Sanni and Nneka Chile at Reuters

Reporting by Seun Sanni and Nneka Chile; Writing by Hugh Bronstein; Editing by Alexis Akwagyiram and Gareth Jones.

Image: Patient, Michael Sunday, shows his new prosthetic hand at Immortal Cosmetic Art company, in Uyo, Nigeria January 7, 2020. Picture taken January 7, 2020. REUTERS/ Seun Sanni

Nigerian movie special effects expert John Amanam makes hyper-realistic, dark skin prosthetics – hoping to tackle a loss of confidence from white or unrealistic looking artificial limbs. Nneka Chile reports.
Blog

‘Pockets of memory’: Living with dementia in Nigeria


No Comments

Written by the talented Kemi Falodun, a writer and journalist based in Nigeria sharing underreported stories. We loved reading her article on living with dementia in Nigeria. It touched on multiple serious issues such as age discrimination, elder abuse and the conflict between culture and modern medicine in a way we don’t often see.

Care-givers and medical professionals in Ibadan are confronting a growing problem with love, patience and medication.

Ibadan, Nigeria – Before she started to forget things, Elizabeth Mustafa was relearning how to walk. Her diabetic foot ulcer had gotten out of control and her right leg had been amputated.

Leaning on her four-wheeled walker, she would try to manoeuvre herself around the house as someone, usually her daughter-in-law Victoria, accompanied her, watching, guiding, removing objects from her path.

Three years before she lost her leg, in 2010, Elizabeth fled religious rioting in northwestern Nigeria after receiving threats that her house and grocery store would be burned down. Seeking safety, she moved to Ibadan to live with one of her six sons and his family.

She loved telling her four grandsons stories about life in Ghana, where she was born and lived with her parents until 1969 when Ghana’s then-prime minister, Kofi Busia, passed the Aliens Compliance Order, forcing African migrants – many of them Nigerian, like Elizabeth’s parents – to leave.

Now 66, Elizabeth still enjoys telling stories about her life back in Ghana. The boys sit around her in their living room in Alarere, Ibadan, listening attentively and chipping in with anecdotes of their own as she remembers the school she attended, the friends she had.

“They [Ghanaians] are nice people. They show love,” she says in Ashante Twi, before translating it to English.

A smile spreads across Elizabeth’s face as she eases herself onto the brown sofa, holding a small radio to her belly.

“She remembers things from long ago. All others are pockets of memory,” Victoria Mustafa explains gently. 

‘Where am I?’

The Mustafas live on a neat, quiet compound. The white-walled living room is punctuated by cream curtains that drape the windows and the entrance to the passageway leading to the bedrooms. 

Victoria says this was where they were sitting a few years ago, shortly after the amputation, when Elizabeth suddenly asked: “Where am I? What am I doing here? What’s the name of this town?”

Some mornings, Elizabeth would hold a tube of toothpaste for minutes, staring at it, before finally asking what it was used for. There were times when she could not remember the names of her relatives.

“We were thinking, ‘What’s this? What’s going on?’ We didn’t understand what was happening,” says 42-year-old Victoria, who is wearing a purple shirt – the official colour of the Alzheimer’s awareness movement.

Victoria, who is from Kaduna, first met her future mother-in-law in 2004, two years before she married her son and moved to Ibadan. 

“She was active and loved to tell stories,” she recalls.

The change seemed sudden. Initially, the family assumed she was seeking ways to cope with the loss of her leg. Then they grew irritated with her. 

“We thought she was just being difficult,” Victoria says. 

It was when she started to wake in the middle of the night, struggling to reach her walker, demanding that the door be unlocked so that she could go and open her grocery store, that they realised something was wrong.

The full article was published online at Aljazeera, have a read, let’s discuss.

Image: Elizabeth Mustafa in the home she shares with her son and his family in Ibadan [Ayobami Ogungbe/Al Jazeera]

Blog, Elective Reports, Medical Elective, Tourism

Coronavirus (COVID-19)


No Comments

The coronavirus has raised concerns worldwide, “As of 9am on 8 March 2020, 23,513 people have been tested in the UK, of which 23,240 were confirmed negative and 273 were confirmed as positive. Two patients who tested positive for COVID-19 have died.” according to www.gov.uk. 2 cases have been confirmed in Nigeria, the first case was a patient who travelled from Milan Italy to Lagos Nigerian. The second patient was identified as someone who had been in contact with the first patient, both cases are clinically stable. Sources: BBC, The Guardian and Nasdaq.

What is Nigeria doing?

  • Screening at international airports
  • Public health education on how to prevent catching and spreading the virus
  • Strict isolation of those who have been in contact with virus
  • Contact tracing
  • Reporting cases
  • Hospitals are following the WHO protocol and constantly communicating with the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC)

Due to the dynamic nature of the situation, it is difficult for us to provide you with specific advice. For those going to Nigeria (or elsewhere) for a medical placement, there are some questions you should ask yourself:

  • What happens if there is an outbreak in Nigeria (or other host country)?
  • What happens if the UK places restrictions on flights to or from Nigeria (or other host country)?
  • What happens if you become unwell with symptoms of coronavirus while at home or in Nigeria (or other host country)?

It is important to be in regular contact with your medical school before travelling to Nigeria (or other host country) so you are fully aware of any advice updates or changes in regulations. We recommend you have adequate health insurance, travel insurance (which may cover cancelled flights or have an allowance for flexibility) and a detailed plan for repatriation if it were necessary.

Although there is always more that can be done in these situations, let us remember the successful eradication of Ebola by Nigeria a few years ago.

For more information about the outbreak, travel and how to stay safe, visit:

Public Health England website: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-information-for-the-public, https://www.gov.uk/government/topical-events/coronavirus-covid-19-uk-government-response and https://www.gov.uk/guidance/travel-advice-novel-coronavirus

Travel Health Pro website: https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/news/499/novel-coronavirus-covid-19-general-advice-for-travellers

The NHS website: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/

MGN Image from https://www.cbs7.com/content/news/Coronavirus-COVID-19-What-you-need-to-know-568412081.html

Blog, Elective Reports, Medical Elective

Successful Separation of Conjoined twins at University of Abuja Teaching Hospital, Nigeria


No Comments

A team of UATH doctors on Tuesday successfully separated a set of conjoined twins at University of Abuja Teaching Hospital Gwagwalada. Dr Olori Samson, one of the surgeons who carried out the operation, said the parents visited the hospital on June 11 following a referral from another hospital.

 “On their arrival at our facility on June 11, 2018, having been referred from St. Mary Catholic Hospital, Gwagwalada where they were delivered through a Caesarean section, there were different hurdles. But the first hurdle was not on the surgery day but during the pre-surgery days. That is, making sure the babies were kept alive, which we delicately addressed.

“The other hurdles were anticipated based on our findings because after the initial clinical assessments, there were several CT scan investigations to determine the organs that were joined. So, we discovered their livers were joined. We had five sessions of all the teams coming together to plan and determine the best approach. We had anticipated the bleeding that would take place because the liver is one organ that you can’t really tie. So, the hospital management provided some modern gadgets we deployed to make sure the surgery went well. It did go well as we contained the surgery of about five hours. With what we had available to us, we hadn’t any fear that we would succeed in getting to the root of separating these babies,” Mr Samson said.

 Speaking at a press conference in Abuja on Friday, the Chief Medical Director (CMD) of UATH, Bisallah Ekele, said the babies are in good condition. “As we speak, today (Friday) is the fourth-day post-surgery. The babies are stable and in good conditions. We took a decision as to when the operation would be done considering the fitness of the babies and on 29th October, we went to theatre and after four and half hours, the corrective surgery was done,” he said.

He said the surgery was carried out by two teams of paediatric surgeons, a team of plastic surgeons, two teams of anaesthetics, and specialist nurses.

The father of the twins, Ferdinand Ozube, said he is grateful for the assistance and care rendered to his family by the Hospital in its trying moment. He said he had heard about and watched conjoined twins on television but never thought he would have them. 

Blog

Millennium Park, Abuja


No Comments

Millennium Park Abuja is the largest public park in Abuja covering, approximately 32 hectares. It is located in the Maitama district of the federal capital territory. The Millennium park was designed by he Italian architect Manfredi Nicoletti,commissioned in December 2003 by Queen Elizabeth II.

Its a lovely place for bird watching, a picnic, walks, jogging, other outdoor and group activities.

Photo Credit: Travel Start Blog

Blog

Depression and Medical School


2 Comments

What is Depression?

Depression is a mental illness that is predominantly associated with the following symptoms: low mood, lack of energy and loss of enjoyment in our usual activities. Student doctors and practicing doctors can say these core symptoms of low mood, anergy and anhedonia quicker than saying pseudopseduohypoparathyroidism. But identifying these symptoms within oneself is a much slower process.

Depression during medical school is not a new phenomenon, and despite our understanding of mental health is improving, many student doctors are struggling daily with depression. There are various factors during medical school that can contribute to ill mental health:

  • Lack of sleep due to a busy schedule.
  • High expectations – from your yourself, medical school, parents, family friends, etc.
  • Financial strain – the accumulation of student loans, balancing paid work and studies, etc.
  • Emotional strain – wanting to provide the best care you can to patients.
  • Personal responsibilities and commitments – being a parent, friendship commitments, relationship commitments, carer duties, etc.
  • The intensity of constant assessments, persistent appraisals, exam after exam, etc.
  • Unfortunately some environments have a stench of over-competitiveness, over-compensation, intimidation, etc.
  • A new environment, new city, new country, new friends, etc. – medical school may be the first big change you have experienced in life so far.

 

So how can we lighten the load?

Discussing mental health is often thought of as taboo, both in the medical profession and public; therefore to speak of it, requires courage and encouragement (having both simultaneously is not easy).

So how can we lighten the load? How can we start healthy habits that lead to a healthy lifestyle?

At Medics’ Inn we do not claim to be psychiatrists, but we are experts in seeking help! That is what we urge you all to do.

If you are struggling with your work load…seek help.

If you are experiencing financial strain…seek help.

If you are second guessing a career in medicine…seek help.

If you are having difficulty balancing your responsibilities…seek help.

If you feel sad and lonely…seek help.

Seek help from those around you, your supervisor, your tutor, your personal GP/doctor, etc.

Sometimes, because we do not want to ‘bother’ anyone with our issues, we dig ourselves into a hole. But the earlier you seek help, the easier it will be to come out of that hole.

 

Photo Credit: PhotoPin

 

Medics’ Inn

Blog

Poem: At the Forefront


No Comments

At the forefront

They say that whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger

Say that to the oncology patients, the pain in their eyes, wishing not to remain any longer

My heart tremors as I walk down the corridor

The palpitations of my index fingers are too persistent to ignore

My trachea collapses every time my beeper goes off

I sweat and sweat, I try to replenish it with water, but it’s not enough

Hours on the ward seem to be long days that make me weary

I think I’ve caught what the patient was diagnosed with in bed three

Although I’m told not to, I self-diagnose

Lists of symptoms and signs I compose:

  • Fears of not being able to supply their demand
  • Suffocating my thoughts with predictions and plans
  • My imagination runs wild as I begin to contemplate
  • Mistakes and devastating actions I could make
  • That leaves someone who trusted me in pain
  • Scribbling my signature at the bottom of their records – shame
  • Blood stained resume no longer fit for practise

(A disgrace to the Medical Council, incompetent and useless)

  • These notions come to greet me every moment of the day
  • They’re absent at breakfast, present at lunch, occasionally there at dinner, they never go away
  • Making me question my ability and sanity in this field
  • I’m no longer in control of how I feel

But since I’ve started sharing the content of my mind

Something has been fertilised inside

Teamwork introduced me to ‘Mechanism to cope’

These thoughts of the day seem to be replaced with hope

Lately I’ve befriended a new angle of view

It is a subtle friendship because those that know about it are few

The budding beginnings bring about brand new brainwaves

Constantly contemplating and constructing confident considerations which are crucial

I think I’ve come to understand that I’m not the superhero the world has been waiting for

This fight isn’t over; battles are being won every day but we all remain in war

Nevertheless it is the daily combat that keeps things ticking

The persistent resistance against invasion

The inconsistent resilience that makes us human

And the hope of tomorrow that keeps us going

 

 

 

This poem is titled ‘At the forefront’ because it expresses the thoughts of a doctor who is struggling with the harsh uncontrolled reality of death and disease. They are constantly faced with patients who look to them for help to overcome their terrible disease they battle. At first it is all too much for Doctor A, the mental and emotional problems are presenting themselves physically, or so he believes. This portrays the first big idea in Whole Person Care, ‘Illness and its remedies lie at many levels within a system’; although the pathology can be explained through the activity of adrenaline in the body there is an emotional level that suggests a the trigger for the release of adrenaline, it is more likely that clinical signs have emotional factors are their trigger. This also addresses idea seven, “We can learn from different philosophies of health.”; the psychobiological relationship presented by Doctor Amid shows that his mental health affected his physical health, hence the physical manifestations of his worries. Integrative Medicine is employed by many practitioners to focus on the patient as a whole and to make use of all appropriate therapeutic approaches; if Dr Amid presented his physical symptoms to a fellow doctor it would be easy for his colleague to be absent-minded towards Dr Amid’s emotional symptoms and only treat the physical issue.

He comes to a point where he is emotional attached to the patients he cares for. In order for a practitioner to relate to their patient they must be able to empathise, it should be something that is constantly applied throughout a consultation. Although, being human means a doctor is often subject to emotion, empathy can consume a doctor, leaving them in a dysfunctional state. “…I think I’ve caught what the patient was diagnosed with in bed three. Although I’m told not to, I self-diagnose. Lists of symptoms and signs I compose…”. But this is something that we can all identify with, when we’re too attached to a vulnerable person we become we bear their burdens as if we were them. Empathy should be a costume doctors wear when needed, but in order to make rational decisions this costume must be taken off, it is then put on again when appropriate.

‘…Effective relationships are central to effective care…’ is the fourth Big idea, kit wasn’t until Dr Amid shared his fears and used the support system around him that he was able be released from his prison of negative thoughts. It was through teamwork that he was able to know about these mechanisms.“…But since I’ve started sharing the content of my mind. Something has been fertilised inside. Teamwork introduced me to MOC ‘Mechanism to cope’. These thoughts of the day seems to be replaced with hope. Lately I’ve befriended a new angle of view…”. The effective relationship between Dr Amid and his colleagues lead him to effective care.

The poem ends with Dr Amids new thinking; it is evident that the new technique adopted by him has created resilience. This ending does not paint a safe, comfortable and nice image of life as a doctor but accepts the reality that death is painful and despite human intervention, is inevitable. “…The inconsistent resilience that makes us human…” this shows that Dr Amid is still on a journey, like many us this journey may last for a lifetime. In practise resilience can be hard to define because people are different therefore their resilience will manifest differently; there can be no time allocation, characteristics criteria, physical duties or a check list to be ticked off. Resilience in intrinsic, it is a characteristic that can only be activated by yourself, which confirms the sixth Big Idea ‘…Self-care helps create resilient practitioners..’.

Dr Amid is a fictional character that represents the thoughts and worries of medical students and doctors.

 

Photo Credit: PhotoPin

Blog

Places to Visit in Nigeria – Part 2


No Comments

When you are in Abuja Nigeria, consider exploring these places! Have a look at part 1!

 

Malls

There are many shopping malls/centres to visit while in Abuja, for example:

Ceddi Plaza, 264 Tafawa Balewa Way Central Business Area, Abuja, FCT, Nigeria

ceddi-plaza-abuja-nigeriaceddi-plaza-abuja-nigeria

Photo Credit: Ceddi Plaza

 

Silverbird Cinema

silverbird-cinema-abuja-nigeria

Photo Credit: Silverbird Cinema

 

National Children’s Park and Zoo Abuja

“The National Children’s Park and Zoo in Abuja is new, with modern spacious enclosures for the animals and plenty of playgrounds and activities for children. Visitors can see African animals such as cheetah, giraffe, ostrich, zebra and lion (now extinct in Nigeria’s national parks), and there are also domestic animals like camels, donkeys and chickens.”

Source: Wikimapia

national-childrens-park-and-zoo-abujaPhoto Credit: Tourism News Nigeria

 

The Hilton pool, gym and Fulani Bar

“With its traditional thatched roofing, mats and statues, this Abuja bar’s design reflects the culture of Nigeria’s Fulani people. Order barbecue à la carte specialties for your lunch or dinner. Unwind with a snack as you take in views of the Transcorp Hilton Abuja hotel’s beautifully landscaped gardens.”

Source: Hilton

Fulani Pool BarSource & Photo Credit: Hilton

 

The Hash House Harriers Run/walk

“Hashing is a state of mind – a friendship of kindred spirits joined together for the sole purpose of reliving their fraternity days, releasing the tensions of everyday life, and generally, acting a fool amongst others who will not judge you or measure you by anything more than your sense of humour.” (by Stray Dog on http://www.gthhh.com). Every other Saturday, a group of 70 to 90 avid runners and leisurely walkers alike convene to explore the countryside around Abuja. The walk, accessible to all – from elders to kids – is around 4 to 6 km while the run is around double that distance with a drink stop along the way. Earlier in the day, a group of ‘Hares’ have set the trails in some nice spots near Abuja with great scenery. So, the Hashers’ objective is to find the true course and to be ‘On On’. After the run/walk, Hashers gather in a circle to welcome newcomers, to send off leavers and to honour each other for any number of reasons by giving them ‘down downs’ – this is chugging a beer, traditionally, soft drinks for those choosing. While the run/walk is completely family-friendly, humour in the circle can get slightly saucy (mostly a lot of double entendre … though from time to time people have been known to drink out of their shoes.) A good sense of humour is a must! After the run, for those willing, there is a “chop” – dinner at a local establishment.”

Source:

abuja-dashers

Source & Photo Credit: Inside Track Abuja

 

The Dome

“This is Abuja’s all-in-one retail and leisure destination of shops, restaurants and night clubs, located at 423 Cadastral Business Zone, AO, Central Business District. Attractions in the Dome include Bodyline Fitness Centre, The Tropical Flowers and Palm trees of the Para disco Garden, Octagon Nite club,  Wesley Snipes VIP Lounge, the Summit Restaurant (Offering Nigeria, Asian and European Food), swimming pool and an indoor games arcade with a ten-lane bowling alley, a gymnasium with a pool table”

Source: The Nordic Villa

the-dome-abuja-nigeriaPhoto Credit: Logbaby

 

 

Grand Square Supermarket

“It is the best place to enjoy eatables and is renowned for its bread outside Paris. You can cherish the ice cream quite favorite among people of Abuja.  Though the rates are high but the taste of the meats and cheese is best.  The supermarket is known for its great service and selected food it serves.”

Source: Est Travel

the-grand-square-supermarketPhoto Credit: Logbaby

 

Catch up on part 1 and look out for part 3! Please tell us in the comment box below where you would encourage others to visit!

Blog

Medical School Can Be Tuff


No Comments

Medicine is similar to other professions is many ways, but it is also different from other professions in many more ways. The hustle of medical school is like no other undergraduate course. As well as studying for a degree, you have begun your training for the career. Your career starts now.

You have now adopted a culture where juggling numerous extracurricular activities is the norm; you turn down more social events than you’d like; your term/semester begins with, is interrupted by or end with 1-3 assessments or exams! The list goes on. Only other medical students/student doctors understand this way of life. Although your family and friends are very proud of you, there is an air of disappointment. Even though you try to explain the structure of your course, the emotional demands, the time constraints, your goals and aspiration, “they just don’t get it”.

But remember you are not alone on this journey, there are hundreds of students just like you in the country, and there are thousands of students around the world in your position (some worse off). Stay true to your convictions and try to maintain a healthy balance of things. Know your priorities. Remember, medical school is but for a season; how you handle medical school is an indicator of how you will handle life as a doctor.

Medics’ Inn