Gulu Regional Referral Hospital has opted for a Kangaroo care
system for premature babies as the hospital grapples with inadequate incubators.
Kangaroo care, or skin-to-skin care, is a technique practiced on newborn,
usually preterm, infants wherein the infant is held, skin-to-skin, with an
adult to share warmth.
Records from the Neonatal Ward indicate that a total of 38
premature babies were admitted for care at the ward and yet the hospital has
only five incubators for the premature babies.
Christine Akumu, in –charge of the Neonatal Ward at Gulu Regional
Referral Hospital says Kangaroo care helps keep the baby warm and facilitates
breastfeeding. She adds that keeping preterm babies warm is especially
important because their tiny bodies lose heat rapidly, making them highly
vulnerable to illness, infection and death.
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According to Akumu, Kangaroo care has reduced the pressure and
congestion at the existing neonatal unit.
She says that mothers always struggle to secure space to use the inadequate incubators
at the main facility which is too small to accommodate all the babies. She adds that although Kangaroo care is not so effective, it helps
in bonding the mother and the baby.
She says premature births are in increase due to emotional
depression and stress by expectant mothers due to gender-based violence, lack
of frequent antenatal visits and teenage pregnancies and malnutrition among
pregnant women, among others.
Janet Anena, 32, and a mother of a premature baby under Kangaroo
Care at Gulu Regional Referral Hospital says that she underwent a C-section
when she was six months pregnant after she developed a complication.
Anena says that her preterm baby who was only 800g at birth is
currently gaining weight after she adopted the Kangaroo Care.
Paska Apiyo, the Physician at Gulu Regional Referral Hospital says
men should always take care of their pregnant women in a bid to mitigate the
factors that may lead to the delivery of premature babies.
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to Statistics from Gulu Regional Referral Hospital Neonatal Ward, a total of
248 premature babies were admitted for care at the Neonatal Unit. Most of them
were weighing 700gs to 1.5Kgs.