Paediatrician raises alarm over rising deaths from sepsis

A Consultant Paediatrician, Dr Efunbo Dosekun, on Monday said that Sepsis, an abnormal immune response to infection was fast becoming very common and causing high mortality in Nigeria.

Dosekun, in an interview in Lagos, said there was urgent need for stakeholders in the health sector to increase enlightenment about the condition.

The consultant, who is the Chief Executive Officer, Outreach Hospital Group, Lagos, a social impact health service provider, spoke on the sidelines of a capacity building programme for healthcare professionals on sepsis.

According to a medical website, Mayo Clinic, sepsis is a potentially life-threatening complication of an infection.

It stated: “Sepsis occurs when chemicals released into the bloodstream to fight the infection trigger inflammatory responses throughout the body.

“This inflammation can trigger a cascade of changes that can damage multiple organ systems, causing them to fail; if sepsis progresses to septic shock, blood pressure drops dramatically, which may lead to death’’.

The consultant said that there were no data to show the prevalence of sepsis, however, it was anticipated that it was very common.

“At least, in an accident and emergency department of most hospitals in the country, one-quarter to 50 per cent of the patients have sepsis.

“And at the end, if those cases are not well managed, 70 to 80 per cent of them die.

“We need stakeholders to start talking about sepsis and be more aware of it as both the general public and healthcare providers themselves are unaware of the symptoms.

“We want to be able to create awareness to healthcare workers on the signs of sepsis; the healthcare worker has to know how to diagnose and be sensible to know when to escalate care,’’ she said.

Dosekun said that sepsis could be treated if diagnosed early and urged people who suspected fever to visit their clinic to be sure they were not having the disease.

She said the disease could be prevented through proper hygiene, including regular hand wash, clean environment, covering food items from rats as they also transmit bacteria that caused sepsis.

“Also, children must take their vaccines and even vaccines for adults that are not usually stressed in Nigeria.

“There is so much to be done in our health system that is so immature.

“We do not have the luxury of plaguing ourselves with problems of sepsis which can be picked up early and interventions put in place to prevent it from progressing to severe sepsis,’’ she said.

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