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Kaabong Hospital’s neonatal unit to undergo facelift

Courtesy Photo: Officials during the ground breaking ceremony recently

By Timothy Eodu

Kaabong Neonatal Unit, which was formerly a resting room for mothers at their first stages of labour has received a sigh of relief as works to renovate it are to begin soon.

Statistics from the facility show a decline in the number of deliveries in the past two years. Figures show that there were 1,033 deliveries in 2021 but it sharply dropped to 852 in 2022, also the percentage of live births dropped from 97.1% to 94.6% in the same period.

Even with the poor condition of the facility, Kaabong Hospital managed to register a tremendous decline in neonatal deaths from 21.3% in 2021 to 9.6% in 2022. These percentages were attributed to complications like birth asphyxia, pneumonia, neonatal sepsis and prematurity.

Dr Mathias Badaaza, the Kaabong Hospital project coordinator said that the lack of a stable power source to run most equipment at the facility remains a challenge due to unstable power.

Dr. Badaaza said the incubators, baby warmers and oxygen concentrators at least need stable power for 72 hours uninterrupted with in order to minimise care interruptions and also reduce infant mortality.

He said the new development will enable to hospital to operate well but also ensure patients are treated in safer facilities to avoid getting certain infections. He added that constant water supply will improve patient’s care, reduce healthcare- (nosocomial) associated infections especially among newborns in the neonatal intensive care unit.

Dr. Badaaza was however concerned that lack of certain equipment in some departments at the facility such as in the pediatric wards, theatre, labour suites and antenatal clinic for extending care on possible pregnancy outcomes to get rid of setbacks to the new-born babies and their mothers is an urgent issue to be taken note of.

Sandros Anyakun the district health educator Kaabong said the deaths of infants in the district was a big gap that in most cases they had to refer to Moroto Regional Referral Hospital, 180 kilometres away. He urged Government to deploy well-trained medical staff who will manage the neonatal intensive care unit.

The Unit’s renovation works is supported by Doctors with Africa with funding from the Government of Ireland. The project will cost sh245.3m ($66,308) and will lead to full functionality which is expected to last 90 days.

While launching the Corporate Society for Safe motherhood in Kampala recently, Dr. Diana Atwine, the permanent secretary at Ministry of Health said the Ministry started the initiative in partnership with Stanbic bank almost 4 years ago to rally support towards safe motherhood.

File Photo: Dr. Diana Atwine administering malaria treatment in Moroto district

Dr. Atwine said during the launch that what was initially targeting only Kawempe hospital has now attracted over 50 corporate institutions and companies, extending the service across the country.

Last year, proceeds from the MTN marathon MTN MARATHON TO SUPPORT KAABONG HOSPITAL IN KARAMOJA REGION, 1.5 MILLION CHILDREN BORN IN 2021- DR DIANA ATWINE – KARAMOJA NEWS were also dedicated to support some of the health facilities across the country with the focus on improving maternal and neonatal health.

The beneficiary health facilities are Kisenyi and Kawaala health centres in the suburbs of Kampala, Katakwi hospital in the Teso sub-region, and Kaabong health centres in the Karamoja sub-region.

The UN inter-agency estimates that from 2000 to 2017, the global maternal mortality ratio declined by 38% from 342 deaths to 211 deaths per 100,000 live births.

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