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The first intensive care units were developed in Nigeria following successful management of cardiac patients at the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital Enugu, Nigeria in 1973.
Nigerian nurse intensivists are under the regulation of the National Association of Nurses and Midwives Nigeria and critical care units are based within departments of anaesthesia.
The scarcity of trained nurse intensivists is made worse by the brain drain to the West.
Intensive care nursing, in the Nigerian context, is demanding, carries a high workload, and is stressful for nursing staff.
Generally, the health care system in Nigeria is still under development. Health care facilities are categorised into three major groups: primary, secondary, and tertiary health care facilities.
The first level hospitals (tertiary), that is teaching hospitals, are under the Federal Government of Nigeria. The second level hospitals (secondary), that is general hospitals, are managed by the state government. The third level hospitals (primary), that is 'grass root' health care centres are managed under the policy of the primary health care progamme in Nigeria and are regulated by local government. Statistics are not readily available but according to established health care policies, every major town, and every local government has an established primary health care facility. Some private hospitals are well established, competing internationally, and are better equipped and maintained than second level hospitals.
CRITICAL CARE NURSING
Intensive care nursing is the recognised term for critical care in Nigeria and intensive care nursing is a new career in Nigeria. Currently, the lack of trained personnel makes it impossible for most second level hospitals to run an intensive care unit (ICU). Some established units are being managed by registered nurses.
Another problem that is complicating the provision of ICU services is the 'brain drain' to the western world. However, it is up to us to try to solve this problem ourselves.
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