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21 Premature Babies At Risk As Masaka Hospital Power Outage Worsens

The lives of at least 21 premature babies are at risk at Masaka Hospital due to power outages which have left the newly opened unit in a blackout. Early this week, Umeme disconnected power supply at Masaka Hospital to carry out maintenance work on the hospital special line which has been providing uninterrupted power.
Prossy Musoke, a Nurse at Masaka Hospital looks at prematures babies whose lives are at risk due to power outage

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The lives of at least 21 premature babies are at risk at Masaka Hospital due to power outages which have left the newly opened unit in a blackout.

Early this week, UMEME disconnected power supply at Masaka Hospital on grounds that it was carrying out maintenance work on the hospital special line which has been providing uninterrupted power. The disconnection of power has forced the hospital to suspend some operations because it does not have funds to fuel the five generators.

The Hospital management says due to worsening power outages, some complex cases are now referred to National referral Hospital Mulago because some of the equipment at Masaka hospital has been switched off until power stabilizes.

At the newly opened premature babies and neonatal intensive care unit, 21 babies are at risk because the incubators, infant warmers and oxygen concentrators are now switched off. Prossy Musoke, the Premature and neonatal intensive care unit in-charge, says the infants are now at the mercy of God. She says no baby has died so far but warns that the situation is bad.

Musoke explains that the premature unit equipments entirely depend on power because they don’t have a strong generator to run the high energy consuming infant warmers, oxygen concentrators and incubators.

Musoke says the phototherapy machine which helps premature babies born with blood-related problems has also been switched off putting the lives of three newly born premature babies in danger.

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Musoke says they are worried that if UMEME doesn’t address the power outage, many premature babies may not survive yet the number of mothers giving birth keeps increasing.

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Twenty-year old Prossy Kyomuhendo gave birth to premature twins at Masaka Hospital this week, and the babies have been surviving in the incubator and phototherapy because they were born with blood-related problems. The two babies look yellowish because of jaundice.

 

Babies become jaundiced when a chemical called bilirubin builds up in their bloodstream and body tissues, including the skin. Bilirubin is an orange-yellow pigment in the bile that forms as a product of the excess amounts of haemoglobin in the blood that produce the yellow appearance.

Ereazer Mugisha, the Principal Masaka Hospital Administrator, says the operations in the theatre and oxygen supply have been affected.

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Duncan Mwesigwa, the Umeme branch manager Masaka, has declined to talk about the power outages in the hospital. He said he was still in a meeting when URN visited the office along Kampala road.