The health sector in the country has been urged to collaborate with local and international specialists in the management of Brachial Plexus Injury (BPI).
Speaking during an outreach held in Idiara-Community of Lagos to mark this year’s BPI awareness month, founder of Conquering BPI, the organisers of the event, Ngozi Ekong also stressed the need for both public and private hospitals to talk about BPI during antenatal classes so as to educate pregnant women on the condition and how it could be prevented.
Defining Brachial Plexus Injury as an injury to the brachial plexus nerves that occur during birth, Ekong explained that the brachial plexus may be stretched, compressed, or turn in a difficult delivery and added that the result might be a loss of muscle function or even paralysis of the upper hand.
Regretting that BPI is quite common, but not talked about she said: “BPI is common, but it is not talked about, not only in Nigeria, even outside the country, people still do not know about it. If we can have a public service announcement on stations, general health centers and community outreach on the management of BPI, that will go a long way as early intervention is key to quick recovery”.
According to her, the injury can be prevented before birth with constant monitoring during antenatal.
In her words: ‘’Once the medical practitioners see that the baby is big at birth, then it is advisable to give options to the mother. Also, there are different techniques and maneuvers that can prevent the injury to the baby at point of delivery’’.
On the choice of the community for the outreach, she described Idi-araba as one of the largest community in Lagos with traditional borne setters and traditional midwives and added that the event aimed to educate them on how best to prevent the condition from occurring.
“Brachial Plexus Injury has to do with nerve and not borne, so we want to train the borne setters on the techniques of handling the condition so they do not end up breaking the borne of the child”.
Speaking also at the event which was held in partnerships with the Rotaract Club of Lagos District , Rotaract Medilag and One Young World, the district medical director and chairman disease prevention project of Rotaract Club Dawudu Joshua explained that the partnership was to enable them join hands together to create more awareness on BPI.
“A part from educating traditional borne setters and the midwives on how to properly and effectively manage the conditions as early as possible, we at Rotaract Club, we are passionate about community service and also engaging in activities that help improve the wellbeing of members of our community.”
On her part, a Physiotherapist, Susan Abbey advised pregnant women to be mindful of their eating habit, adding that over feeding could lead to over weight in unborn babies.
‘’Pregnant women should also be regular at antenatal classes, they should give heed to the instructions from the gynecologist, I do not see anything wrong in giving birth through cesarean section if that will prevent a child from having BPI,” she added.
The president of Rotaract Club Medilag, Princewill Onyekah who also spoke during the outreach observed that BPI is prevalent not only in Nigeria, but in other part of the world.
Onyekah, however stressed the need for both government and private hospitals in Nigeria to employ physiotherapists that will help in the management of BPI.
While commending the organisers of the programme, the traditional borne setters and the midwives described the training as an eye opener and added that the knowledge acquired will go a long way in managing BPI effectively.