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Gulu Hospital Opts for Kangaroo Care

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.
Premature triplets sharing one incubator at Gulu Regional Referral Hospital Neonatal Ward -Photo by Jesse Johnson James

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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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According 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.