Because our operating theatre is open 24 hours, the caesarean section rate increased, we perform about 50 every month, majority being referral cases. We perform over 50 ceaserean Sections each month, 20 major operations and 15 minor ones per week. We plan to construct a surgical ward and begin urology and eye surgery camps.
Mark with Hirschsprung’s disease
Mark, now 10 weeks old, presented to our paediatric ward at BCH, Uganda with chronic constipation since birth. Since then he was dependent on soapy enemas to stimulate his digestion. His symptoms worsened – his abdomen was distended and he had occasional vomiting. His parents had tried herbal remedies for 4 weeks since they could not afford to take him to a healthcare facility. Unfortunately, Mark also had burns on his abdomen which indicated that a traditional healer had attempted to reduce the swelling in his stomach using a hot metal implement.
After we examined Mark, he also had features of anemia and dehydration. His abdomen was grossly distended, with bowel loops visible through the skin. He was still chronically constipated and all methods failed leaving surgery as the only option. He also had difficulty in breathing with no support.
An initial diagnosis was made of Hirschsprung’s disease. Mark was then prepared for emergency surgery and during the operation, grossly dilated loops of the entire colon were found. We decided to give him a stoma (opening in the stomach) and attached a bag to his stomach to collect his stools. He was monitored critically while on the ward and was discharged home after seven days with a functional colostomy (gut exteriorization).
He was reviewed two months after the surgery. Mark was looking well, he had put on weight and the colostomy was functioning without any problems. Our surgeon plans to perform two further surgeries once Mark has gained more weight to ultimately allow him to live a normal life without the need for a colostomy. Mark’s condition is a complex congenital problem that eludes lower level facility practitioners and is therefore easily missed immediately after birth. Both the surgery, anaesthesia and post-operative care in such babies requires good infrastructure and a well-trained healthcare team. This combination could not easily be accessed by Mark’s parents. This was what Mark’s mother said about this difficult experience;
“I was worried about the life of my baby; we could not afford the hospital cost that is why we tried all means to use local remedies which still failed us. Our community volunteers suggested for us to visit Bwindi and that we could find help there. My son was operated on at no cost; I only had to pay hospital stay costs which were very highly subsidized for me. Thanks for the support from Bwindi Community Hospital and the people supporting this work.” …..” After the success of all the other surgeries, I hope to hold a thanksgiving at our church for the miracles God is doing through Bwindi Hospital.”
We have a dedicated surgical team, and it holds surgical clinics twice a week and an orthopaedic clinic once a month. We regularly host a team of medical specialists from Switzerland and USA who selflessly give their time, energy and talent to enrich surgical services at Bwindi for which we are very grateful.
The costs of running the operating theatre and paying the salaries of the highly trained staff who perform the surgeries and deliver anaesthetics are high. Each Caesarean section costs us $258, and we sometimes perform three a day. Three Caesareans can equal six lives saved or even more when a mother is carrying more than one baby in the pregnancy. We appreciate the help from the Macauley Foundation (read more), AFRICOMED (read more) for this program, but still need more assistance. Any contribution, however large or small, will go directly to helping those most in need.
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