Goal: To improve child health through education, prevention and high quality treatment services in a child centered environment.
Child mortality in rural areas is significantly higher than in urban areas. The Southwestern part of Uganda, which includes Kanungu district, is among the regions with the highest child mortality. In this region, the under-five mortality rate is 92 per 1000 live births, which is above the national average of 64 deaths per 1,000 live births. According to UNICEF, there has been no progress in reducing neonatal mortality, and the burden of malnutrition also remains high in Uganda.
The BCH Children’s ward offers the only new born care services in a district of 300,000 people. In the 2018/2019 reporting year, we provided life-saving care to 1346 ill children. Our specialized services include management of severe acute malnutrition, neonatal care, nutritional and health education counseling, and chronic disease care, among others. Our clinical team works around the clock in making sure that every sick child is seen quickly and gets the best of care in a child friendly environment. Children play and learn as they recover in a facility with 38 beds for sick children and a clean and warm unit for newborn babies. Outside the ward is a play area, kitchen and a demonstration garden where mothers, and occasionally fathers, can learn skills that they take back home. For instance, they learn how to grow nutritious food crops and preparing a balanced diet for their children.
Each month we see over 500 children in our Outpatient department and we admit more than 100 to the ward. Among these, 22.3% were neonates, and 7.7% of the admissions were premature babies. The top causes of admissions among children under five years of age are; are respiratory infections, malaria, diarrheal diseases, malnutrition, and complications of preterm neonates. Children with severe acute malnutrition are able to access home-based rehabilitation thanks to availability of Ready-to-use therapeutic food (RUTF) provided by UNICEF and our Ministry of Health. Children who were previously admitted with severe acute malnutrition are also followed-up to see if their nutritional status is improving.
Each week, we have special clinics for children with long-term diseases like Type 1 diabetes, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, heart conditions, among others. Children with Type 1 diabetes are able to get free insulin and glucometers thanks to support from the Changing Diabetes in Children Program of Novo Nordisk.
We also have collaborations with health organizations like Organization Useful Rehabilitation Service (OURS) and Comprehensive Rehabilitation Services in Uganda (CoRSU) that offer additional services for children such as physical rehabilitation and repair of congenital defects.
We are continuing to update our policies to reflect evidence based guidelines.
We have undertaken research into sepsis management and its outcome,
viral zoonoses and social determinants of severe malnutrition.
With more support we hope to do more to improve survival of our children.