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Makerere Pediatrics Department to Strengthen Neonatal Care

Dr Ezekiel Mupere the head of department said that said six new neonatology fellows will benefit from this programme that is fully funded by the ministry of health to basically teach these specialists all that is there about taking care of babies who are less than four weeks old.

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Makerere University Department of Pediatrics and child health will on Friday launch a neonatology fellowship which aims at equipping pediatricians with skills of handling small babies or neonates. 

Speaking at a press briefing held in Mulago on Tuesday, Dr Ezekiel Mupere the head of department said the choice of handling issues of neonates arises from the fact that many neonates who get health challenges end up dying with statistics putting these deaths at 41% of all childhood deaths. 

He said six new neo-natology fellows will benefit from this programme that is fully funded by the ministry of health to basically teach these specialists all that is there about taking care of babies who are less than four weeks old. 

Previously, specialists who have wanted to focus on these have been flying to South Africa as the programme has not been existent in the country. 

Dr Sabrina Kitaka one of the senior lecturers in the department said they are excited this programme is coming up now with a fully-fledged Mulago Women and Neonatal hospital now operating since previously they have had challenges working with neonatal units that lack necessary equipment.  

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With new sub-specialists and programmes being introduced, health workers and researchers are understanding children better and in the end they are saving them from unnecessary early deaths.

She said over the years, the department has had many sub-specialties coming up depending on societal needs, for instance, they now have students specializing in childhood cancers and emerging infectious diseases.  

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The department has also evolved from initially focusing in areas to do with measles, diarrhoea, malaria and nutrition-related issues that were a very big public health threat then and have now been largely managed. 

Currently, Kitaka says the majority of their researches are in the area of HIV, cerebral palsy and sickle cell anaemia among others.

The first research findings to be published by the department were in the area of Kwashiorkor where they set out to establish the factors influencing prognosis in the management of the disease. 

On Friday, the department will mark 60 years of training, research and health care.

Paediatrics is a specialized branch of medicine that involves the medical care of infants, children, and adolescents.  

Over 20,000 students have trained from the department of pediatrics since it was established.      

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