In its first two months in operation, health workers at Kasana Health Centre IV in Luweero are overwhelmed by the number of patients attending its sickle-cell clinic.
According to the centre's coordinator, Isaac Sebakijje, they had expected 90 patients in the first two months, but up to 144 had attended the clinic, much to their surprise. A two-month report by the clinic shows that the patient attendance had placed pressure on the drugs and equipment. Consequently, the report shows a shortage of drugs and blood, as some sicklers have to be transfused regularly.
Sebakijje added that they also have one room that serves as the clinic, clerk's room, dispensing room and administration, which is insufficient. The increased attention has also placed increased pressure on the centre's general ward where the rest of patients are attended to, as they now have patients coming in from as far as Nakasongola and Nakaseke.
Sebakijje has asked intending couples to carry out sickle cell tests before having children in order to reduce on the number of new patients, as the disease is hereditary.
Despite this, some of the patients using the clinic are grateful. Joseph Kanyike, who used to take his seven-year-old daughter to Mulago, says he now spends less time and money to access treatment. The centre is located 40km along the Kampala-Gulu highway.