We are always excited to read about Nigerians actually walking the walk despite an environment that does not seem to encourage innovation in any form. Today we bring to you this interesting report from VESTA Healthcare on a most important workshop that recently help in Abuja.

On the 1st and 2nd of June 2009 at the Abuja International Conference Centre the Honourable Minister of Health, Professor Babatunde Osotimehin formally declared open the first in the series of “Transforming Health” International Workshops & Exhibitions titled, “Transforming Emergency Care in Nigeria”, organised by Vesta Healthcare Partners Nigeria Limited.

The positive tone of the Workshop was set by Professor Oladipo Akinkugbe, one of Nigeria’s most respected and distinguished academics and physicians. He particularly welcomed the participation of the UK-based Faculty, the majority of who are Nigerians, adding that this was a practical demonstration of their commitment to improving the health systems at home. Also speaking at the occasion, one of the organisers, Dr Folabi Ogunlesi noted that building capacity in workforce in Emergency Care was crucial for achieving a reduction in the unacceptably high mortality and morbidity from road traffic accidents, gunshot wounds and natural disasters in Nigeria.

The programme, over two days, was a rich mix of formats ranging from morning lectures featuring thought provoking speakers to intense, highly interactive skill stations and tutorial sessions in the afternoons. A total of 122 delegates from all over Nigeria attended. The Workshop Programme was developed and delivered with the support of an 18-strong UK and Nigeria-based Faculty comprising Consultant Physicians, Consultant Surgeons and Emergency Medicine Consultants, Senior Nurses and Paramedics.

Topics covered included strategy and planning, service delivery, hands-on care, disaster management and a host of others. There were robust discussions during the plenary and breakout sessions.

The tutorials and skills stations afforded opportunities for delegates to practice their resuscitation skills, interpret and respond to ECG’s, analyse x-rays, CT and MRI images, discuss a range of clinical scenarios as well as try out equipment such as ex-vivo laparoscopic training jigs. The feedback received at the end of the workshop from formal evaluation forms was overwhelmingly positive.

The Workshop was complemented by an Exhibition featuring 19 major medical equipment vendors, service providers and companies. Participants circulated through the Exhibition area throughout the Workshop, learning about the latest services and products, speaking with representatives from exhibiting companies and using the space as a central meeting and networking point. A very well attended and enjoyable Networking Reception took place on the evening of the first day with music provided by the Nigeria Police Band. With the Emergency Care Physicians visiting from the UK interacting with their colleagues in Nigeria, the first Nigerian Society of Emergency Care was launched during the workshop.

Look out for the next in the series of “Transforming Health” Workshops coming up on the 8th and 9th of June 2010, in Abuja.

Vesta was formed in 2007 by three doctors (Folabi Ogunlesi, Efunbo Dosekun and Niyi Ade-Ajayi) to ……..“do for medicine, what KPMG has does for accounting”……… The firm is fast developing a reputation as a platform and focus for the step-change that would be necessary to bring Nigerian healthcare delivery methods into those of the 21st century.

Vesta Healthcare Partners is a medical professional services firm, dedicated to addressing the challenges and issues of the health care sector in Sub-Saharan Africa and the Caribbean. Find out more at

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed people can change the world; indeed it is the only thing that ever has…Margaret Mead

Chikwe Ihekweazu is an epidemiologist and consultant public health physician. He is the Editor of Nigeria Health Watch, and the Managing Partner of EpiAfric (, which provides expertise in public health research and advisory services, health communication and professional development. He previously held leadership roles at the South African National Institute for Communicable Diseases and the UK's Health Protection Agency. Chikwe has undertaken several short term consultancies for the World Health Organisation, mainly in response to major outbreaks. He is a TED Fellow and co-curator of TEDxEuston.

Discussion1 Comment

  1. Interesting…I have some concerns with workshops, particularly in a setting like ours where there are little or no infrastructure.

    How much practical knowledge can be impacted in 2 days? To me, having regional short courses (1-4 weeks) would have been more appropriate.

    Thanks for sharing.

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