How Nigerians respond to orthopedic trauma part one: The traditional syndrome

One can generally describe trauma either as any serious injury to the body resulting from violent activities or as an event that causes great distress to the body or mind. Similarly, an orthopedic trauma is a serious injury inflicted on the bone or muscles of an individual usually arising from accidents.

Without a doubt, the increase in road traffic accidents has taken up a large number of the rating for orthopedic trauma in Nigeria. 25 reported cases of auto crashes alone existed in the month of January 2021 and these cases do not include the staggering instances that are not reported.

It is a common trend for these road accidents to incur orthopedic trauma instances such as back injuries from impact, fractures, broken bones, spinal cord injuries, paralysis, neck injuries, foot and ankle injuries, knee injuries, wrist and hand injuries, shoulder injuries, injuries to the soft tissue and more.

An ordinary trip to the orthopedic section of any hospital in Nigeria will reveal the alarming rate of untreated orthopedic trauma. One can only wonder what general approach Nigerians consider in getting bone and muscle injuries treated.


A traditional solution for modern-esque problems

Your average Nigerian is 95% most likely to hold high regard for traditional orthopedic solutions when afflicted with orthopedic trauma. To the best of their knowledge, a traditional bone setter is more liable to give solid results than professional orthopedic medications.

This general belief or trust for traditional bone setters stems from the local knowledge of the older generation who have rubbed off on the newer generation the ethics that traditional medicine guarantees superb bone repair results.

Such ideology to typical Nigerians cannot be blamed as like every African community (and most cultures) before the advent of western activities, an over-reliance on ancestral ethics of medicine governs their hearts and minds.

Business for traditional bone setters is booming in different states, locales, and areas all over the country as patronization rates don’t seem to be declining any time soon. In fact, more accident occurrences force more people with serious orthopedic trauma to abruptly decline orthopedic care from hospitals.

You hear points why they don’t condone western bone therapy such as:

  • Expensive charges are tasked by orthopedic hospitals.
  • The idea is that western bone therapy is unreliable.
  • Rumored cases of people with worsened conditions after getting western care.

Ironically, all points used to evade professional bone care are also prevalent in the traditional bone setting system.


The solution

Through the introduction of rehabilitation and revamping of trauma centers (Private and Government-owned) in Nigeria that are primarily focused on modern methods of handling orthopedic trauma. It is not escapable the true mistrust which people have for orthopedic hospitals or centers.

A great lacking of facilities and tech for handling orthopedic trauma exists, especially with surgical instances. Hospitals in Nigeria (mostly government-owned) are heavily incapacitated in equipment to handle and treat bone and muscle injuries.

We can have centers dedicated to the treatment of bone and muscles injuries available to curb the long-term effects of orthopedic trauma and pain, perhaps bringing an end to this menace for good.


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