"The Ministry of Health would like to state that the pictures circulating on social media do not depict the actual situation on ground. The babies at this facility are in a temperature controlled environment..."
KAMPALA - Some of the newborn babies seen in a picture taken at neonatal care unit at Kawempe National Referral Hospital that circulated on social media have been moved to Mulago specialized women and neonatal Hospital, according to the health ministry.
In the picture, the premature babies who had been admitted to the neonatal intensive care unit were sleeping on plastic chairs and some sharing a single bed.
The ministry says this is an interim solution to the current challenges of overwhelming numbers at the hospital.
In a statement issued on Thursday, the health minister Dr. Jane Aceng noted that they are planning to expand the neonatal special care unit at Kawempe in order to cater for the high number of patients.
"The high patient numbers are as a result of the increased number of referrals from the lower health facilities around Kampala, Wakiso, Mukono and other parts of the country. Ministry of Health engineers are on-site to assess the modalities required to expand the special care unit, the Procurement of equipment such as; additional incubators, infant warmers, phototherapy machines, baby cots is on," Dr. Aceng said.
According to statistics, Kawempe National Referral Hospital delivers an average of 80-100 babies daily and 2,500 babies monthly translating to approximately 30,000 babies per year.
Currently, the hospital is home to the Directorate of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Pediatrics.
Emmanuel Ainebyona, the health ministry spokesperson, noted that the ministry is engaging Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) and the neighbouring Local Governments to ensure that the health facilities are functionalized to full capacity to curb the high referral numbers.
"The Ministry of Health would like to state that the pictures circulating on social media do not depict the actual situation on the ground. The babies at this facility are in a temperature-controlled environment and infection prevention and control measures are adhered to ensuring that there is no danger to the babies' lives," Ainebyona said.
This is not the first time conditions at Kawempe Hospital have been put in the limelight. Some time back babies died because of lack of oxygen at the hospital.
Referred women are also encouraged to go to Mulago Specialized Women and Neonatal Hospital and access free services.