The Independent (Kampala)

Uganda: Mulago Unveils Neurosurgical Theatre

This new theatre is an addition to five other theatres that the national referral hospital has been using.

Dr. Christine Ondoa, minister of health opened the theatre today in the general Theatre (1B).

"My heart is very glad with the service delivery here despite so many challenges in the health sector," Ondoa said.

Mulago deputy executive director, Dr. Doreen Birabwa decried the state of the old theatres. She said that they are good but in dire need of renovation.

"The new theatre is very timely since we now have the African Development Bank Loan for renovating this floor. We have to improve and handle the theatre properly," Birabwa told her colleagues in the neurosurgery department.

Ondoa said that her team is planning to increase staff, negotiate for increase in payment and number of health workers this financial year.

She said the room and building cost US $ 30,000, microscope cost US 40,000, supplies US $10,000 and other items US $ 80, 0000, a total of US $ 200,000. Duke University represented by Prof. Michael Haglund funded the entire project.

Birabwa said the surgeries will be free though patients will use the MRI and scanners at a fee for maintenance. One of the success stories in the neurosurgery ward is 7 year -old Lukeman Lwegaba whio was born with a brain tumour.

As he grew, the tumor developed as well. His mother Sarah Ssegwanyi, self employed says when Lukeman was about one year and seven months old, his head begun swelling.

She says he started having convulsions about 7 to 8 times in a day.

"We even tried to take him to school at four years but he could not because of the convulsions." He had difficulty in sitting still before he could crawl.

In 2007, an Ashanti tube, which cost his parents Sh. 150,000, was inserted in Lukeman's brain when he was just two years old. Weak, not eating, he spent 25 days under radiotherapy. Two years later, his health improved, thanks to the medical personnel of Mulago National Referral Hospital. Ssegwanyi is full of praise for Dr. John Baptist Mukasa, a neurosurgeon. Mukasa is among the doctors in the neurosurgical department who have been praying for a theatre.

Eng. Joel Aita the brain behind the construction of the theater says it is 80 metres by 5 metres in size. It has a linoleum floor, a natural sterilizer, microscope and other equipment to facilitate surgeries.

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