HEALTHCARE

Train nurses providing anaesthesia

In Summary
  • So far, the country has at least 500 non-physician anaesthesia providers.
  • They utilise sedation with drugs such as Ketamine to facilitate essential surgeries when no formal anaesthesia services are available.
A nurse in a hospital ward.
NEEDS EMPOWERMENT: A nurse in a hospital ward.
Image: FILE

Anaesthesia remains an important part of surgery. It enables a patient to undergo an operation safely without experiencing distress and pain.

But the number of anaesthesia providers in Kenya has definitely not kept pace with increasing demand for their services.

The country has only about 200 physician anaesthesia providers. This is way below the recommended minimum requirement for the safe practice of four anaesthesia providers per 100,000 population.

Kenya has adopted programmes to bridge the gap and improve access to surgical services. Nurses and clinical officers can today train to become anaesthetists at the Kenya Medical Training College.

So far, the country has at least 500 non-physician anaesthesia providers.

They utilise sedation with drugs such as Ketamine to facilitate essential surgeries when no formal anaesthesia services are available.

The report that there is an eight-fold increase in the odds of severe complications and death when non-physicians administer procedural sedation is therefore concerning.

The study, published in this newspaper, says the complications may reflect a difference in health systems more than it does a difference in skill of physicians and non-physicians.

Authorities must therefore support health workers, and ensure formal anaesthesia services are always available.

Facilities where surgical procedures take place must also be well resourced to respond when complications arise.

Quote of the Day: “Life is not a matter of holding good cards, but of playing a poor hand well.” 

Robert Louis Stevenson 

His book Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde was published on January 5, 1886.