No less than 100 women who were living with uterine fibroid and adenomyosis – both common gynaecological conditions among Nigerian women – have successfully obtained full relief from the condition without undergoing invasive surgery.
The milestone was carried out through the revolutionary state-of-the-art procedure known as High-Intensity Focused Ultrasound, HIFU, at the Nordica Fibroid Care Centre, Lagos.
The first procedure took place on the 9th of July 2021 at the Centre which is the only one of its type in West Africa and the third in Africa after Egypt and South Africa.
Speaking at a media parley to commemorate the milestone, the Medical Director/CEO of the Centre, Dr Abayomi Ajayi, said the centre formally opened its doors to deliver the first in class, non-invasive technology in the management of uterine fibroids – HIFU.
“Since we opened our doors in July last year we have done 100 successful treatments to date and still counting. One hundred women have had the opportunity to get rid of fibroids and adenomyosis that may have defined their lives before they did the procedure.”
Ajayi said from the facility in Lekki, that they have treated women from all works of life from across the country.
“We are delighted every time a woman walks into our facility with fibroids and or adenomyosis and she leaves a few hours later devoid of the torment of her ailment.
“The relief we see on their faces gives us joy that the investment we have made in this area of uterine fibroid management is bringing relief to our women folk who would ordinarily have been scared of open surgery, and may have decided to live their lives with the pain, discomfort, blood loss, and we have saved many women from the risk of blood transfusion, anaesthesia and loss of man-hours at work.
“The HIFU treatment is done with a special Magnetic Resonance Imaging, MRI, a machine that produces sound waves focused on one small section of the fibroid. The process is like using a magnifying glass to focus the sun’s rays on a piece of paper to start a fire. In HIFU, the rays are focused on a predetermined small section of the fibroid, surrounding tissues are not affected.”
Ajayi noted that the 100th treatment was a call to service. “It means we are committed to working tirelessly to help more women access the HIFU technology to deal with the fibroids.
“It is a call for us to reach out to more women living in Nigeria and the West African sub-region to take advantage of HIFU and improve the quality of their lives.”
He said in celebrating the 100th treatment, plans are on to expand access for medical doctors to be trained in the use of the HIFU technology as part of Nordica’s commitment to continuous professional training. We have called for applications from interested doctors to apply for this specialised training to join a global workforce of highly skilled individuals. The more doctors that are trained, the better for the patients and our health sector.
“We believe that by the time we are celebrating our 200th treatment, Nigeria will be on the path to becoming a significant contributor to the global effort in fibroid care management via non-invasive methods.”
Going down memory lane, Ajayi said the journey to the opening of the Centre was not easy. “COVID-19 had created a backlog of logistics and shipping challenges all over the world, so we had a long wait before the equipment arrived, we had a serious backlog of goods to be cleared at the Nigerian ports, there again we had another hurdle to cross.
“By the time we were about to commence operations, Covid had dealt a significant blow to our foreign exchange rate regime. The big climb had begun.
“In effect, everything and anything may have conspired to stop this dream from coming to fruition, but I believe that our tenacity and the grace of God made it happen despite all odds.”