The Ministry of health has revealed plans to deploy to equip the different regional referral hospitals across the country in abide to bring closer treatment and management of Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus closer to the people.
It is estimated that 600-800 children in Uganda are born with Spina bifida each year while 3600 -5400 are born with Hydrocephalus. With this huge number of cases registered, the country has only three treatment centres that can manage the conditions.
While speaking at the commemoration of the World Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus day held in Kampala, Dr. Olaro Charles, the director curative services at the ministry of health said that the arrangements are in high gear to ensure that these services are brought closer to the communities.
The event was organized under the theme: A call for National action to reduce the prevalence of birth defects through food fortification; folic acid supplementation and dietary diversity in the country.
The management of Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus are currently done in three facilities that’s: Mulago National Referral Hospital, Mbarara Regional referral Hospital and Cure hospital.
Dr. Olaro said that as such, government will have to recruit and deploy Neurosurgeons across the different regional referral hospitals who are meant to handle these cases.
“To effectively use the CT scans in regional hospitals then we need to deploy neurosurgeons and when you have them at those facilities then they you can handle those services” Dr. Olaro said.
Dr. Olaro advocated for increased uptake of Folic acid before and during pregnancy to minimize the risk of giving birth to a child with such conditions.
“What normally happens is that when people miss their periods, they would want to wait for another month to confirm whether they are indeed pregnant and by that time you are already beyond 28 days and the defect is already formed. I urge that the moment you miss the menstrual periods visit the health facility and then you can be given the folic acid supplementation,” Olaro said.
The National coordinator of Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus Association of Uganda (SHAU), Ruth Nalujja called for equal treatment and inclusion of children with Spina bifida and Hydrocephalus in schools and other public places.
“As we commemorate the World Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus Day, I call for social inclusion of children with especially Spina Bifida because these are always incontinent, social inclusion is very difficult and given the stigma associated with their condition, many have been left aside and discriminated,” Nalujja said.