Experts Lament Lack of Gynecological Ultrasound Training

Posted on: Thu 17-02-2022

The need for structured training for gynecological ultrasound in Nigeria has been brought to the front burner, as health experts lament lack of it in the nation’s healthcare delivery.

Speaking at the first gynecological ultrasound workshop in Nigeria held in Warri, Delta State, recently, the experts made a case for inclusion of gynecological ultrasound in the West African College of Surgeons’ curriculum and National Post-Graduate Medical College curriculum.

The workshop, held at BON Delta Hotel, was put together by two friends and key facilitators, an Australia-based Nigerian gynecologist, Dr. Uche Menakaya, and the chief executive of Coastal Specialist Clinic, Effurun, Warri, Delta State, Dr. Kingsley Agholor, gynecologist, endoscopic surgeon and sinologist.

They stated that the hunger for gynecological ultrasound knowledge, as gynecologists came from all the parts of the country, including Borno, Bauchi, Kano, Lagos, Oyo, Rivers, Edo, Imo and Enugu.

Thirty-five medical practitioners, comprising gynecologists, medical sinographers, radiologists, general medical practitioners and family medicine physicians, participated in the three-day training programme, which was split into a one-day intensive theoretical class and two days of hands-on training on diverse ultrasound equipment.

At the training, which was carried out by JUNIC Specialist Imaging and Women’s Centre, Agholor said: “Menakaya has been a long-time friend and we share the same passion for gynecological ultrasound. I work with the Central Hospital in Warri and I also work in Coastal Clinic. Gynecological ultrasound is a passion because there appears to be a need for gynecological ultrasound in Nigeria. What we had were hybrid conferences; this is the first wholly gynecological ultrasound training in the country, to the best of my knowledge.

“So, it is important because at the moment there is no structured training for gynecological ultrasound anywhere in Nigeria, to be honest, either in the gynecological college or in medical school or any form of training available at the moment. Much of the trainings you will get are outside of the country, like I had the opportunity to get in Sweden and Belgium. Having gotten this, one has to look at how to bring other persons in.

“How do we spread the knowledge and how do we get other people to understand the value in this thing? Because what we have is that, many times, the patient suffers from not having what you may call point of care in ultrasound services.

“Patient comes to see gynecologist, gynecologist evaluates the patient, sends the patient to neurologist for ultrasound, patient spends one week before ultrasound is done, comes back to see the gynecologist, two weeks have gone. Instead of the gynecologist just doing the ultrasound as he is seeing the patient and diagnose right there. These are the advantages that come from all of that. An accurate diagnosis too can cause improved patient care, those are the key issues.”

On his part Menakaya who has special interest in ultrasound and gynecological ultrasound and laparoscopic surgery said, “I’ve had advanced training in gynecological ultrasound and endoscopic surgery, I offer that to my patients in Australia.

“One of the things I found was that providing point of care ultrasound services in my practice overseas has demonstrated for me improved patient outcome. Because when a woman comes to a gynecologist with a problem, what happens in Nigeria today in most centres is that the gynecologist will see the woman and send her to get an ultrasound somewhere else.

“Now when she goes for that ultrasound somewhere else, that ultrasound is performed by someone who is not fully trained and therefore they’re getting wrong results and most of the gynecologists are at a loss at how to manage those wrong results compare to what they think the patient’s diagnosis is, so there is that disconnect between the assessment and the ultrasound that is performed outside.”