Gulu hospital receives equipment to boost maternal, child health services

Medics attend to Ms Scovia Aciro at Gulu Regional Referral Hospital’s maternity ward. PHOTO/SIMON WOKORACH

What you need to know:

  • The donation includes equipment for maternity suites and neonatal intensive care units, specifically targeting emergency care for mothers and babies. 

Gulu Regional Referral Hospital has received a significant boost in its maternal and child health services with the donation of 200 pieces of medical equipment.   

This donation, worth Shs1 billion, is expected to transform the quality of care provided at the facility.

Dr Baifa Arwinyo, the coordinator of local maternity and newborn systems for the Acholi Sub-region and head of the child health and maternal unit at the hospital, while receiving the equipment last week, emphasised the impact of this donation. 

“We receive an average of about 40 premature babies admitted in the newborn care unit. [This condition] is one of the major causes of death among children under five in the region,”  Dr Arwinyo said. 

The high burden of newborns and premature births had previously strained the hospital’s resources.

The Acholi Sub-region, according to a recent Ministry of Health report, has been flagged as one of the areas with a high burden of newborn death cases, following Kampala and Bunyoro. This new equipment aims to address these issues by enhancing safe delivery and reducing premature deaths.

The donation includes equipment for maternity suites and neonatal intensive care units, specifically targeting emergency care for mothers and babies. 

Dr Jackie Alobo, a technical advisor for maternal and child health at AVSI, highlighted the importance of the equipment. 

“Most of the equipment will support in detecting problems for mothers and babies; for example, radiant warmers for prematurely born babies and blood pressure machines for mothers,” Dr Alobo explained.

The equipment donation is part of a larger initiative by the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation through AVSI, which aims to support health facilities in northern Uganda. 

The Uganda Programme Coordinator of the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation, Ms Paolo Maria Gaimbelli, noted the historical cooperation ties between northern Uganda and the Italian government. 

“Uganda is getting more important to the Italian government and was recently identified as a priority country for cooperation,” Ms Gaimbelli stated. 

This two-year €5.5 million (about Shs22.7 billion) programme, provides 1,700 assorted medical equipment to improve maternal and child health across Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda. 

In Uganda, 12 health facilities, including Gulu Regional Referral Hospital, Anyeke Health Centre IV, and Lira Regional Referral Hospital, among others, will benefit from this initiative.

Statistics from 2022 reveal the urgency of this intervention, with 4.9 million children under five dying globally, equating to 13,400 deaths daily. Uganda’s high preterm birth rate, 14 per 1,000 live births, contributes significantly to neonatal deaths, making such donations crucial.