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Kawolo Hospital Neonatal Unit Overwhelmed with Increase in Premature Births

Children admitted to the neonatal unit often need breathing support given through their windpipe, and suffer from convulsions, failure to feed, severe chest in-drawing, fever, hypothermia, jaundice, umbilicus redness or draining pus, skin boils, signs of local infection and vomiting.
Mothers breastfeeding babies at the neonatal section of Kawolo hospital.

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Medical workers atthe Kawolo Hospital Maternity Department are worried about the limited space at the facility's neonatal unit.

The section was designed to accommodate 20 babies, often born before 28-weeks gestation and are seen to be unwell at birth. Children admitted to the neonatal unit often need breathing support given through their windpipe, and suffer from convulsions, failure to feed, severe chest in-drawing, jaundice, umbilicus redness or draining pus, skin boils, signs of local infection and vomiting.

However, numbers of premature and weak babies have increased following an upsurge of teenagers giving birth and other cases related to malaria. Kawolo Principal Nursing Officer Silvio Abiria says that over the last year, the number of weak babies born at the facility doubled from 20 to almost 40 every day.

But the facility has one functioning incubator and does not have enough beds to accommodate all the preemies who need critical attention to ensure their survival.

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Mothers and caretakers seeking services at Kawolo Hospital are also worried about the situation saying it's a risk to their children’s lives.

Suzan Nambalirwa, one of the mothers who talked to URN says that she has seen medical workers removing frail mothers and their babies from beds to accommodate those deemed to be more critical. Nambarirwa appeals to the government to increase beds at the maternity section so as to provide a good delivery environment to mothers.

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Buikwe District Health Officer-DHO Richard Bbosa says they have addressed the concerns with the Ministry of Health and promised to respond. He, however, appeals to pregnant women to ensure proper feeding to avoid complications requiring neonatal services. He also advises mothers to always attend maternal clinics.

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Buikwe District Woman Member of Parliament Diana Mutasingwa says her office was notified about the matter and is working hard to ensure that the unit is expanded.

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