Mulago offers free surgery to patients with brain ailments
Posted Wednesday, January 9 2013 at 02:00
Lucky patients with brain ailments will have a chance to get free surgery as Mulago Referral Hospital teamed up with experts from the Duke University in the US to treat them.
Of the 50 to 60 patients visiting the neurosurgery unit at the hospital daily, at least half require surgery.
Dr Micheal Muhumuza, a consultant neurosurgeon, said with one operation taking seven to eight hours, they could only operate on an average of three patients daily.
This means that the rest of the patients have to be put on a waiting list. The hospital performs operations only twice a week.
But thanks to the neural surgical camp that opened on Monday, 30 patients with various brain ailments now have a chance to undergo free surgery by the end of this week .
A private brain operation can cost between Shs54 million and Shs81 million, which is too expensive for many Ugandans, who, without some of these crucial surgery, end up dying.
Mr David Semwogerere is one of the patients who will undergo the free surgery.
“This opportunity has been a blessing to my life. When I consulted, they said private operations would cost Shs28 million in Nairobi and Shs58 million, elsewhere. I think I would have died if I did not get this chance,” Mr Semwogerere said shortly before going to the theatre yesterday.
He was diagnosed with a rare condition, where water from his brain flows through his mouth.
The neurosurgical camp headed by Prof. Michael Haglund from Duke University’s Neurosurgery unit in the US, will carry out brain operations ranging from aneurysm, a condition which causes bleeding from the upper parts of the brain, spinal cord and brain tumours.
The camp, which Prof. Haglund has been running with his own funds, has been carrying out surgery at the neurosurgery unit twice a year.
Dr Muhumuza said patients come with ailments such as head injuries, tumours and congenital anomalies.
The unit has only four neurosurgeons to serve the growing number of patients. Two other neurosurgeons are based upcountry.
“With this new theatre, few patients will be delayed and some crooks will not solicit for money from patients,” Dr Muhumuza said.
After acquiring a new theatre, the unit hopes to train 18 neurosurgeons by 2020.