December 6, 2022

Health: AKTH ends Diabetic Amputation, begins Maggot Therapy

The Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital has become the first and only teaching hospital in Nigeria that treats diabetic patients with maggot therapy as against the culture of amputation.

So far, according to the hospital spokesperson, Hauwa Muhammad Abdullahi, in a statement, 15 patients have been treated with the therapy and discharged.

“Maggot therapy is a type of biotherapy involving the introduction of live, disinfected maggots (fly larvae) into the non-healing skin and soft tissue wound(s) of a human or animal for the purpose of cleaning out the necrotic (dead) tissue within a wound (debridement) and disinfection” the statement said.

She said a Nigerian, Dr. Mustapha Ahmed Yusuf, a medical anthologist who returned to the hospital upon completion of his PhD in Medical Anthology from Tehran in 2019 is behind the initiative.

“For over 16 years the United Kingdom and the United States of America have embraced this method because it is a simple bedside procedure and patients don’t have to be taken to the theatre,” Dr. Yusuf said, according to the statement.

“Some African countries where they have medical anthologists, maggot therapy is being practiced as a means of medical treatment to reduce long periods of staying in the hospital for patients with chronic wounds. The Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital has been the model for maggot therapy in Nigeria because it is the only tertiary health institution in Nigeria that has recently gotten a medical anthologist,” he added.

The statement said medical anthologists work in collaboration with orthopedic and plastic surgeons and that orthopedic surgeons recommend maggot therapy as final treatment option before amputation.

Aisha Abubakar, a 55-year-old diabetic with a gangrenous foot said, “Maggot therapy is wonderful. It was Almighty God that saved my foot from being amputated. Two hours before being taken to the theatre, a young gentleman came to examine my leg and said he will try something for me. He came back and put some tiny things on the wound and covered it, few hours later, gradually I began to feel some sensation which I lost long ago even before being admitted in the hospital.

Bashir Abba, another patient who has been on admission for over three months undergoing various treatments said the therapy revived the infected wound, removed all the infections and restored hope to him.