Wednesday, December 7, 2022

Cultural, religious beliefs hampering autopsy in Nigeria: Expert

According to him, hospitals should have well spelt out autopsy policies, in order to derive the maximum benefits from the procedure.

• November 25, 2022
A morgue used to illustrate the story
A morgue used to illustrate the story

Professor Mikhail Buhari of the Department of Pathology, University of Ilorin (Unilorin) says autopsy rate is very low in Nigeria due to religious and cultural inclinations.

Mr Buhari made this known in a paper he presented at the 218th Inaugural Lecture of the university, entitled: “The Doctors’ Doctor: Doctor Weighing Clinical and Morphological Evidence to Make Life Changing Decisions”.

According to him, hospitals should have well spelt out autopsy policies, in order to derive the maximum benefits from the procedure.

He described autopsy pathology as the study of the cause and manner of death, adding that it is also called postmortem examination.

The expert, who teaches in the Faculty of Clinical Sciences of Unilorin, asserted that autopsy pathology is beneficial to physicians in establishing diagnosis and determining cause of death, and also in providing data needed to ensure quality assurance in medical practice.

“Pathologists make diagnoses of established cancers but are also at the forefront of examining samples submitted for screening purposes to detect precancerous lesions in a bid to prevent the debilitating disease,” he said.

Similarly, Mr Buhari called on the government at all levels to create special centres for the management of cancers and kidney disorders across the country.

He suggested that such special management centres, if required, may be established on geographical regional basis to treat cancers and kidney disorders.

According to him, there is a need for institutions to generate their own autopsy policies and for various state governments to review the old Coronal law.

The don noted that large scale investment in creating awareness on the various cancer screening programmes cannot be overemphasised, considering the cancer burden and its attendant effects on the individual, families and nation.

He also stressed the need to make the vaccines affordable for the few vaccine-preventable cancers.

Mr Buhari also urged the government to devise means of returning and keeping best hands beyond the statutory retirement age without necessarily putting the heavy burden on the institutions.

He said the government should appreciate and cover for the uncommon skills of the finest scientists in the country to protect the present and safeguard the future. 


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