By: Amara Kargbo
The National Training of Nurse Anesthetists Project with support from partners has graduated seventeen (17) anesthetic staff of which ten were anesthetic technicians, and seven (7) nurses anesthetists, to add to those currently available nationwide.
The objective of the training is geared towards in improving the quality of anesthesia care services countrywide by the training of anesthetic staff so that tasks are shifted to these staff to provide competent and comprehensive anesthesia care to all districts in the country.
Dr. Michael Momoh Koroma, Project Coordinator, National Training of Nurse Anesthetists highlighted obtained for the training that it has strengthened the health system improving access to emergency obstetric and neonatal care, reproductive health cancers and obstetric fistulas.
Dr. Michael Momoh Koroma, Project Coordinator, National Training of Nurse Anesthetists described anesthesia that it is a surgical discipline which involves the administration of drugs to produce analgesia (abolition of pain), relieve stress muscle relaxation whilst minimizing unwanted side effects.
He doubled that in 2001 more than three quarters of hospitals in the country had no staff to provide safe anesthesia, in 2004, there was only one indigenous doctor anesthetist at post supported two foreign consultants and 16 nurse anesthetists, nationwide, and almost all based in Freetown.
The Ministry of Health and Sanitation of Sierra Leone therefore initiated the Nurse Anesthetists Training Project to address the acute shortage of personnel in the department of anesthesia in Sierra Leone.
Minister of Health and Sanitation, Dr. Alpha Wurie expressed acceptance of such achievement, stating that Sierra Leone is one example of country which is striving to improve anesthesia care services countrywide and taking quality healthcare services to the district hospitals is one of the new directions of the ministry of health and sanitation.
He pointed that anesthesia services need to be adequately addressed for policymakers and practitioners to be able to better meet present and projected demands.
Dr. Wurie upholds that the ministry of health and sanitation thought it wise to institutionalize the training project in the College of Medicine as they had; plans are underway to review the curriculum of the Nurse Anesthetist to transform it into a degree Programme BSC Anesthesia.
According to him, the World Federation of Societies of Anesthesiologists and the World Health Organization clearly delimit personnel able to provide different levels of Anesthesia.
Emphasizing that anesthesia is considerably expensive and time-consuming to train physician Anesthetists than a Nurse or Anesthesia CHO, and these mid-level professionals could provide much of the unmet Anesthetic need with lower level Anesthetics.