Two-month-old James (not real names) has been admitted at the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) of the Specialized Women's and Neonatal hospital since he was born because of candidiasis.
He contracted the infection from his mother. Candidiasis is a fungal infection that attacks the vagina causing itching, redness, smelly milky fluids, swelling and causes painful sexual intercourses. It results from poor genital hygiene, over douching, poor eating habits and a low immune system.
According to doctors at the hospital, James, who only weighs 3 kilograms, which is low for his age has been on life support since birth. Dr Godfrey Alia a gyanaecologist at the hospital says James's condition is not unique to him as many children born to mothers with untreated candidiasis tend to get infected too.
According to Dr Alia, most of these cases happen because some mothers skip antenatal care services. James's mother, Allen Namale confirms not to have attended any antenatal clinic, saying she only reported to the hospital for delivery.
"If I had known that the itching, the thick milky fluids were due to candidiasis, I would have sought medical attention. I thought it was normal because I had had it in the past and it disappeared on its own. I thought it would still go away", she told URN.
Dr Anita Tumwebaze, a pediatrician at the newborn unit in Mulago hospital, says with such infections, one needs to visit a hospital for checkup and treatment the same way they would if they had a fever and suspected malaria in pregnancy.
Tumwebaze also explains that when an unborn child contracts the infection from the mother, they are bound to suffer severe conditions that affect their organs such as the lungs, the kidneys, the heart.
She says neonatal sepsis which is the leading cause of newborn deaths in Uganda today can be a result. Doctors say James risks getting permanent organ damage from a condition that could have been treated with simple medication.