Babies in neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) often have immature immune systems which leaves them at risk of infections in hospitals.
Newborns especially those born prematurely and of low birth weight can easily become infected with harmful pathogens encountered before, during and after birth.
These infections account for nearly one-fifth of total newborn deaths globally.
In Uganda, about 123 newborns die every day, over half of whom will die in their first week of life. Most of these deaths could be prevented at a modest cost through meaningful interventions.
To support government efforts towards child survival in Uganda, Plan International Uganda donated a two in one washing and drying machine worth sh9m will to support in infection control in theNewborn intensive Care Unit (NICU) of the National Centre of Excellence - Kawempe Regional Referral hospital.
Speaking during the function Greg Lavender, Head of Programmes said that the donation is to reaffirm the organisation's commitment towards working with the Government of Uganda, local and International partners in strengthening the health service delivery and bringing lasting change in the area of child survival.
"We urge the facility to utilise the equipment very well to meet the goal of saving lives of the newborn children in Uganda." Greg said.
He noted that as one of its commitments towards child survival, Plan International Uganda through its programmes, addresses maternal newborn and child health issues with an objective of reducing on maternal, newborn and child mortality especially those that can be prevented.
The event held at Kawempe Regional Hospital was presided over by the Executive Director of the facility, Dr. Nehemiah Katusiime and the Newborn Steering Committee Chairperson from the Ministry of Health; Margaret Nakakeeto.
In Uganda, 14 out of every 100 babies are born pre-term and complications of prematurity account for about 29% of neonatal deaths. Neonatal mortality remains a big problem in Uganda, contributing up to 45% of overall deaths among children less than five years of age.
The Sustainable Development Goals call for the end of preventable maternal, new-born and child deaths by the year 2030.
With less than eleven years to go, Uganda is striving to fast track the achievement of these targets amidst challenges. Pre-term birth is the leading cause of neonatal deaths and the number one cause of child deaths globally.