Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital, AKTH, has pioneered the use of clinical grade maggots to treat chronic wounds that often lead to the amputation of limbs.
The procedure, called Maggot Debridement Therapy, MDT, is an ancient process that is rediscovered by medical entomologists to cure wounds.
The maggots are applied to the wounds that develop mostly in diabetic and vascular disease patients.
According to WebMD, “The maggots clean the wounds by consuming all the dead and infected tissues, without hurting healthy tissues. They also help fight infection and speed healing by releasing chemicals that kill bacteria.”
The use of specially bred, selected species of larvae in laboratory to treat stubborn sores at the Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital, which pioneered it in Nigeria, is led by Dr. Mustapha Yusuf, a Medical Entomologist who completed a PhD program in 2020.
Commending on the development, Mr Yusuf said AKTH is the model and pace-setter for maggot therapy in Nigeria because so far it is the only tertiary health institution in the country that has a Maggot Debridement Therapy Centre.
He added that, “Medical Entomologists work in collaboration with Orthopaedic and Plastic Surgeons in the hospital. The Orthopaedic Surgeons refer patients for maggot therapy as the final treatment option before amputation; and Plastic Surgeons conduct skin graft when the wound debridement is achieved, thus it is a complementary role in patient care.”
By December 2020, Mr Yusuf has successfully treated and discharged 30 patients who had chronic wounds on Maggot Therapy at the Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital Kano. This record which was achieved within a year, is likely to be broken in the coming months as more patients become aware of the procedure and seek treatment in the teaching hospital.
“Maggot Therapy as a process of debridement/disinfecting of chronic wound, achieves quick healing rate and reduces extended hospital stay. It is a standard treatment process being practiced in the developed nations and some African countries for patients with chronic wounds such as diabetic ulcers, osteomyelitis and necrotising fasciitis,” he said.
He said that for years the United Kingdom and United States of America have approved the method because it is a simple bedside procedure in which patients don’t have to be taken to the theatre to undergo surgery, and that even patient with electrolytes imbalance can be treated using maggots therapy.
With the introduction of Maggot Debridement Therapy in Nigeria by AKTH, there is hope that many Nigerians afflicted by ulcerous and gangrenous wounds, sores and snake bites can be saved from extremity amputation.