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Lack of Incubators Puts Babies in Gulu at Risk

Currently, the health facility has only five incubators at the neonatal ward with more than 10 premature babies under care.
Acayo's triplets sleeping inside the incubator at Neonatal Ward at Gulu Regional Referral Hospital -Photo by Jesse Johnson James

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Gulu Regional Referral Hospital is grappling with a shortage of incubators for premature babies.

Currently, the health facility has only five incubators at the neonatal ward with more than 10 premature babies under care.

Florence Oyella Otim, the in-charge of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Gulu Regional Referral Hospital says that they currently have only five incubators in place and yet they continue to receive overwhelming numbers of premature babies. She adds that due to a shortage of equipment, babies are forced to share the incubators.

Oyella says that between January and February this year, a total of 46 premature babies were admitted at the neonatal ward and that by the end of March, they had over 14 premature babies which include two sets of triplets.

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She says the babies were born weighing less than 1.5 kilograms and the births normally occur 56 days before the anticipated date of delivery. Oyella calls for immediate intervention of the hospital’s administrators.

According to reports obtained from the Neonatal Ward of Gulu Regional Referral Hospital, a total of 191 premature babies were admitted for specialized care between October and December last year and out of the 191, 15 died due to underweight.

The underlined conditions according to the Gulu District Health report are teen pregnancies, malaria infections among other health complications.

William Onyai, the Gulu District Health Educator has blamed the situation of abuse or misuse of the insecticides mosquito nets distributed to the households by the Ministry of Health.

Onyai explains that most of the pregnant mothers still do not sleep under the net while others enter to sleep late when mosquitoes have already fed on them.

He has however urged the locals to equally embrace good sanitation practices and destroy breeding places for mosquitoes that include stagnant water and clearing of bushes around home.