In an effort to safeguard the health of citizens and prevent quackery, the Health Facility Monitoring and Accreditation Agency (HEFAMAA) has developed guidelines to regulate the practice of Cosmetic Procedures and Telemedicine in the State.
Speaking at the end of a four-day workshop tagged “Finalisation of Guidelines on the Regulation of Cosmetic Procedures and Telemedicine in Lagos State”, held between Monday, 22nd – Thursday, 25th March 2021, in Ikeja, the Executive Secretary of the Agency, Dr. Abiola Idowu, disclosed that the essence of the two workshops was to get the inputs and buy-in of relevant stakeholders with a view to finalising the draft documents.
“The Agency has come up with a draft guideline on the regulation of Telemedicine in the State to address the upsurge in non-physical consultations as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, protect patients’ electronic medical records as well as prevent infiltration of quacks into the emerging field”, she stated.
She added that the Agency also convened several physical and virtual meetings in the Y2020 to discuss the development of guidelines for the regulation of cosmetic procedures in the State as a result of the increased number of petitions received by the Agency, as well as litigations on avoidable morbidities and mortalities of patients who underwent cosmetic procedures despite being performed by qualified health workers.
Idowu stated that cosmetic procedure has become a growing industry and a public obsession in Nigeria in recent years, adding that cosmetic surgery operations are extremely complex and require a high degree of anatomical knowledge and surgical skill as well as aesthetic appreciation.
She observed that many patients do not seek referrals from their general practitioner because they fear an unsympathetic response or they feel that cosmetic surgery is not fundamentally medical.
While lamenting that some practitioners carry out surgical procedures without adequate physical consultations, the Executive Secretary noted that history taking, physical examination and relevant investigations are either hurriedly done or not done at all before patients are sometimes made to undergo surgery resulting in unsatisfactory outcomes and at times litigations.
“It is, therefore, expedient for the Lagos State Government to take steps towards regulating Cosmetic Procedure in order to sanitise the practice and ensure improved quality of care to patients seeking such services”, Idowu asserted.
Highlighting the specific components of services provided by telemedicine, Head, Research and Statistics of HEFAMAA, Dr. Olorunfemi Olonire, listed medical education, e-health patient monitoring, patient consultation via video conferencing, health wireless applications and transmission of image medical reports amongst others.
He also mentioned common conditions that can be treated via telemedicine which included allergies, arthritic pain, asthma, bronchitis, colds and flu, diarrhoea infections, insect bites and pharyngitis. Others according to him are conjunctivitis, rashes, respiratory infections, sinusitis, skin inflammations, cellulitis, sore throats, sprains and strains, bladder infections and sports injuries etc.
A member of HEFAMAA Governing Board, Mr. Biodun Hamzat, noted that the workshop will go a long way in producing final drafts that will not only regulate cosmetic procedures and Telemedicine but also safeguard the health of citizens who access the services.
On the next point of action, a Director in HEFAMAA, Dr. Godswill Iboma, disclosed that the Agency will organise and consolidate all ideas from different professional groups and stakeholders, develop zero drafts of the guidelines which, according to him, will be sent to all stakeholders for their inputs.
He explained further that comments by the stakeholders shall be reviewed after which the documents will be validated by stakeholders and policymakers.
Highlights of the events were presentations on Available Regulations on Cosmetic Procedures by Dr. Victor Gbenro, Deputy Registrar, Medical Dentists Association of Nigeria; Regulation of Cosmetic Surgery: A global Perspective by Professor Fadeyibi, HOD, Surgery Department, LASUTH; Draft Guidelines on the regulation of Cosmetic Procedures by Dr. Daniel Olayinka, Head, Monitoring, HEFAMAA; Overview of Telemedicine: the Nigerian Experience by Dr. Serano of Pharm Access Nigeria and Draft Guidelines on Telemedicine by Dr. Olonire, Head, Research and Statics, HEFAMAA.
The event was attended by Board members of HEFAMAA, Development Partners, Chairmen and members of Professional Associations and other stakeholders.