Twenty-nine Anaesthetic Staff of Batch 10 of the Training of Nurse Anaesthetic Project have graduated after successfully completing training on Anaesthesia on Friday July 27, 2018 at the Miatta Conference Hall, Brookfields in Freetown.
In his keynote address, the Director of Hospitals and Ambulance Services, Dr. Victor Matt Lebbie said the graduation of another batch of Anaesthetic staff will add to the number currently providing services to the people of Sierra Leone.
He disclosed that the training of Anaesthetic staff has helped to improve safe Anaesthetic practice at the district hospitals where they are posted.
Dr. Matt Lebbie informed his audience that there is increasing acknowledgement of the linkages between universal access to surgical, obstetric and Anaesthesia care, global health and sustainable development.
He said Sierra Leone is one example of a country which is striving to improve anaesthesia care services countrywide, adding that taking quality healthcare services to the district hospitals is one of the new directions of the Ministry of Health and Sanitation.
The Director of Hospital and Ambulance Services reiterated that Anaesthesia services need to be adequately assessed for policymakers and practitioners to better meet present and projected demands, noting that measurement is the first step towards understanding and improvement.
He told the gathering that that a recent study showed that 92 percent of untreated surgical condition in Sierra Leone would require some form of anaesthesia, adding that 17 percent would require monitor anaesthesia care, 22 percent would require spinal anaesthesia, and 53 percent would require general endotracheal anaesthesia.
Dr. Victor Matt Lebbie thanked the trainers who have imparted knowledge, skills and positive attitude to the graduates, and congratulated the graduates who have perform their duties to the best of their abilities in helping to improve the health care delivery services to the people of Sierra Leone.
The Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer, (CNMO), Matron Hossinatu Koroma described the graduation ceremony as a great achievement for the Ministry of Health and Sanitation because of the dare need for this cadre of health professionals in Sierra Leone.
She informed the gathering that this project is one of the most successful tasks shifting projects in the Ministry with best practice adaptation from other countries, adding that to date, the Ministry has successfully trained 168 Nurses and Community Health Officers nationwide to meet the demands of the country.
Matron Hossinatu Koroma reminded all that Anaesthetists form the largest single medical specialty in hospitals and their skills are used in all aspects of patient care.
She encouraged nurses to stay in the area they have chosen as there is provision for nurse specialists and consultants in the proposed scheme of service for nurse in Sierra Leone making provision for career development, progression and pathways, and appealed to the Ministry and the Project Coordinator for more training and education in to higher levels in the field.
The Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer thanked the graduants and encouraged them to continue the good work manifested during their training and reminded them of the daunting task ahead of them.
The Project Coordinator, Nurse Anaesthetists Training Project, Dr. Michael Koroma said they are graduating 29 anaesthetic staffs of which 19 are Anaesthetic Technicians, 4 Community Health Officer Anaesthetists and 6 Nurse Anaesthetists to add to those currently available nationwide.
He said Anaesthesia is a surgical discipline which involves the administration of drugs to produce analgesia, relieve stress and muscle relaxation whilst minimizing unwanted side effects.
Giving the history of the project, Dr. Michael Koroma disclosed that in 2001, more than three quarters of hospitals in the country had no staff to provide safe anaesthsia. He said in 2004, there was only one indigenous doctor anaesthetist at post supported by two foreign consultants and 16 Nurse Anaesthetists nationwide and almost all based in Freetown. He added that the Ministry of Health and Sanitation initiated the Nurse Anaesthetists Training Project to address the acute shortage of personnel in the department of anaesthesia in Sierra Leone.
The Director of Primary Health Care, who chaired the ceremony, Dr. Alie Wurie underscored the importance of Anaesthetic staff in the hospitals, adding that they played a strategic method in combating maternal and child death.
He described them as medical surgeon in helping the doctors and commended the graduants saying this is their first step as they have a long way to go.
Highlight of the ceremony include a short skit performance by Set 10 Anaesthetic staff and distribution of certificates formed high point of the ceremony.