Uganda Heart Institute Mulago has started cardiac catheterization on top of open heart surgery on Children with heart diseases
By Juliet Waiswa & Agnes Nantambi
Uganda Heart Institute Mulago has started cardiac catheterization on top of open heart surgery on Children with heart diseases.
This is done under a new project dubbed ‘Developing sustainable pediatric cardiac programme in Uganda where a total of 50 children are expected to benefit this year.
Cardiac catheterization is a test used to check blood flow in the coronary arteries, blood flow, and blood pressure in the heart's chambers. This simple method of operation is cheap, less time consuming and helps the patient to recover very fast.
(L-R) Dr Sulaiman Lubega, a consultant pediatric cardiologist at Mulago Hospital; Prof Graig Sable, the team leader of the American experts from the George Washington University school of Medicine; founder of World Children's Initiative, Pratheepan Gulasekaram; Dr John Omangino, the Executive director of Uganda Heart Institute, and Dr Peter Lwabi, a senior consultant pediatric cardiologist with some of the children who were succesfully operated. PHOTO/Agnes Nantambi
The project to be handed by a team of experts from America and Ugandan doctors is aimed at saving lives of children born with heart diseases through, cardiac catheterization, open heart surgery and capacity building through training of local staffs.
Addressing journalists at the Uganda Heart Institute, Mulago, the Executive director of the institute, Dr John Omangino noted that the project is part of the efforts carried out to improve the capacity of the institute to treat and carry out accurate diagnosis of heart diseases.
"We are glad that several partners have come on board to support our team on ground routinely to handle heart problems amongst children,” Omangino explained.
He said “This time round about ten children are to benefit from the pilot project with the big aspect being the passing on of skills to our teams to be able to handle complicated cases, other than referring them abroad," he added.
He explained that at the moment, open heart surgery is now a routine procedure and this has helped a number of children get healed.
Dr Peter Lwabi a senior consultant pediatric cardiac said that out of every 1,000 children born anywhere 100 of these suffer from heart defects.
Lwabi explained that some of the known causes of heart problems among children are infections, alcohol consumption during pregnancy, German measles, drug abuse and taking of high blood pressure when the mother is pregnant.
He added that some cases are genetic conditions.
Dr Sulaiman Lubega a consultant pediatric cardiologist explained that the project has already helped to save lives of children with the recent success story of a six weeks old baby who was born with a heart defect but was operated upon using the catheterization process and was healed.
"We are glad that we have already registered a success story because the baby in now fine and doing very well," he said.
Dr Omangino stressed that in ten years to come referrals abroad will be no more in Mulago Hospital as the local man power will have received the necessary expertise to handle all the cases.
According to Aloysius Ivan Kalanzi the president of the Rotary club of Mengo, the project invited a team of American cardiac experts to beef up the whole process of operation including Catheterization, open heart surgery and training of Ugandan cardiologists on how to handle complicated heart diseases.
He said that the ten first children to benefit will receive the service free of charge at Mulago hospital adding that the project will involve screening of 1000 children from Gulu Hospital and those diagnonized with the problem will be referred to Mulago for specialized treatment and care.
The sh416m one year programme is jointly supported by the Rotary club of Mengo, World Children’s Initiative, Rotary International, and Samaritan Trust, Rotary Club of Savior USA, Gift of life among other organisations.
He said over 40 Ugandan doctors are to be empowered with skills to handle the problems locally to reduce on the cost of treatment.
Currently the least operation referred abroad costs between sh15m to 80m.
Prof Graig Sable the team leader of the experts from the George Washington University school of Medicine said that they will continue to provide the necessary skills needed by the Ugandan doctors to handle complicated cases.
“No More referrals should be made if the local manpower is empowered, “he said
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