Kisoro Albinos request for free photophobia glasses

Persons living with Albinism in Kisoro District are appealing for free photophobia glasses that could avert the effects of direct sunlight on their sight.

They say that although it is advisable that they wear photophobia glasses as a relief from light sensitivity the glasses are costly and inaccessible on the local market. Albinism as a condition is synonymous with low intolerance to light, a situation which often results into intense pain.

Annet Tumushiime, 26, a resident of Kibaya cell, Nyakabande Sub County says that when there is sunshine, images that are far from her appear out of focus and blurred.

She says that although she needs the glasses, they are unaffordable for her. The glasses are sold at not less than 350,000 Ugandan Shillings on the open market. Tumushiime appeals that government prioritizes the issuance of photophobia glasses as a way of extending affirmative action to the albino community.

Brian Iraguha 15, a senior two student of Kisoro Vision Secondary School says that he sometimes fails to read and interpret some of the questions typed on papers due to sight problems caused by albinism.

Michael Sabiiti, the founder and executive director for Site for Community Services Program, a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) operating in western Uganda says that he has registered fifty children with Albinism, 23 of them, hailing in Kisoro district.

The NGO had partnered with Ruharo Eye Center operating under Ankole Diocese in Mbarara to donate some glasses to albinos. However, Sabiiti says they failed to cater for all of them due to financial incapacitation. They only provided five pairs of glasses.

Kisoro District Chairperson Abel Bizimana pledged to table the concern before the council so that they can be considered in the District budget.





Multi million army hospital helping to save civilian lives in Bombo commissioned

President Yoweri has hailed the UPDF leadership for using their own human resource to build infrastructure and save money through strengthening the health care capacity among the security forces.

The President who was en-route to Apac District to preside over Tarehe Sita celebrations, made a stop-over at Bombo Military Barracks where he commissioned the newly built UPDF Officers’ Wing and Intensive Care Unit.

The 25-bed capacity facility consists of the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), maternity and delivery room, general ward as and a VIP suite. Construction of the medical facility cost 925million Shillings, while the medical equipment cost another 723 million Shillings, According to Col Bekunda Besigye, the Deputy Commander of the UPDF Engineering Brigade.

Brig Dr Ambrose Musinguzi, the UPDF Chief of Medical Services says that 70 percent of the patients at the facility are civilians who are offered services at no cost.

President Museveni commended the work of the two core groups, the medical team and the Engineering Brigade which he said has greatly reduced on the cost of construction done by hired contractors.

He said the facility will help the institution in treating and handling their own patients in privacy without ‘advertising’, but also serve the local community.

“You have done well. You have done it yourselves and you will examine and treat our soldiers. You should continue to cover more areas of the body to handle issues of cancers, kidneys, Urinary tract diseases and heart diseases among others,” he said.

Defense Minister, Hon Adolf Mwesige said the hospital was an important facility for the UPDF and for the country and that it will foster harmony and understanding between the military and civilians including through activities such as extending free medical care, responding to epidemics and disasters.





The World’s oldest practicing surgeon will be making 90 this May

Russia’s oldest working surgeon turns 90 this year and with 10,000 operations already under her belt, she has no plans to retire.

Alla Ilyinichna Levushkina, 89, has worked with a scalpel in her hand for 68 years and still rattles out four surgeries a day at Ryazan City Hospital near Moscow.

The seasoned campaigner is only 150cm (4ft 9in), so has a special step to stand on to make sure she can reach her patients.

The 89-year-old worked in the air medical services for 30 years, when she treated patients living in the Russian wilderness.

She has now returned to Ryazan where she grew up and studied, and her appetite and drive has not wavered.

‘Being a doctor isn’t just a profession but a lifestyle,’ she told Lite FM when asked why she hasn’t retired.

‘If I stopped working, who is going to perform the surgeries?’

The tenacious pensioner has steady hands despite her age, and regularly has to deal with invalids who feel uneasy with her treating them.

One patient called Irina told Lite FM: ‘At first I felt I couldn’t trust a surgeon who is so old, but after she palpitated me with her firm fingers – all doubts gone.’

Alla refers to herself as the ‘racing horse’, because she is immediately filled with energy when she enters the operation theatre.

She will turn 90 on May 5.


Government plans to increase medics’ lunch allowances

Parliament’s budget committee has recommended an increase in the monthly lunch allowance for medical workers across the country. The legislators are suggesting an allowance of 288,000 Shillings for nurses, doctors and other health workers bringing the lunch allocation to 12,000 Shillings per day, per person.

Government currently allocates a monthly allowance of 66,000 Shillings and 44,000 Shillings for doctors and nurses respectively. But Amos, Lugoloobi, the chairman of the budget committee argues that the allocation is insufficient.  He says that the rate which was determined in 1996 has not been revised over the last 20 years despite an increase in the cost of living.

Kasambya County MP Gaffa Mbwatekamwa says that a revision in the lunch allowance will improve the welfare of medical workers who he said use their little pay on accommodation, utilities and transport to work. There are 43,777 health workers on government payroll.

The recommendation is carried in the committee report on the national budget framework paper for the financial year 2017/2018.

Meanwhile, the budget committee also recommends another additional funding amounting to 645 billion Shillings towards the health sector. The money is to cater for among others, Hepatitis B vaccination, procurement of adequate suppliers of ARVs under the National Medical Stores (NMS), bringing staffing levels to at 72 percent in general hospital and others.

On construction and upgrading of health facilities, the budget committee recommends the provision of 164 billion Shillings required for upgrading of Health Centre IIIs to Health Centre IVs in 29 counties and an additional 247 billion Shillings for the construction of 93 Health Centre IIIs in sub-counties where no government facility exists today.

Santa Alum, the Oyam Woman MP told parliament how a Health Centre III in her constituency lacks clean water.

MPs also recommended another 49 billion to be allocated to the health ministry to carry out vaccination, testing and treatment of Hepatitis B in 20 districts that are at high risk.
Parliament resumes on Wednesday to debate the committee report before adopting it.



Health officials monitoring twenty patients after presenting birdflu signs

By Charles Kizindo Lule
Twenty patients in Bussi and Butembe islands on Lake Victoria are being monitored by health specialists after presenting symptoms of the deadly bird flu.
 The ministry of health has picked samples from them and taken to Uganda Virus Research Institute in Entebbe for further investigations.
Bird flu was confirmed in Uganda this week following a mass death of birds at Lutembe beach in Entebbe, and ducks in Masaka.

Quench that thirst with your home made taste elevated drinking water

It is extremely hot in Kampala lately and many of us would love to have a glass or more of water regulary. However there is also another group that just hates drinking water and are spending a little too much on unhealthy drinks like sodas. Today we bring you a few tricks you can use to improve the taste of water so as to go through this season, hydrated and healthy.

  1. Add a squeeze of lemon or lime (or both).
  2. Infusing water with fruit, fill a large jug with water, sliced fruit (try citrus, berries or melon) and ice; refrigerate overnight.
  3. Soak it in flavour, let pineapple chunks soak in water for at least two hours.
  4. Make a mash, mash up blueberries or raspberries in the bottom of your glass, then add sparkling or still water.
  5. Make a splash,pour in a splash of unsweetened cranberry juice.
  6. Cube Juice, make ice cubes out of no-sugar-added juice and add to sparkling or still water and cranberry juicewater.
  7. Mint it, tear up some fresh mint leaves and leave to steep in water before drinking.
  8. cuke it, add sliced cucumber for a refreshing zing.
  9. Add sparkle, make half the glass sparkling water, half the glass still water; it’s not as gassy as sparkling alone.
  10. spice it up, crush some basil leaves, add to water and leave overnight.
  11. Veg out, after boiling vegetables, such as carrots, reserve the water and chill overnight for a vitamin-packed blast of flavor.
  12. Pick and herb, Add an herbal tea bag like passion fruit; heat with lemon.

Hepatitis B patient thrown out by her family

23-year-old Pamela Akello, a resident of Alik Village in Ngeta Sub County in Lira district is struggling to survive following expulsion from her family for testing Hepatitis B positive. Trouble for Akello started in 2015 tested positive for Hepatitis B during a screening exercise at Lira regional hospital.

She was immediately enrolled on treatment. According to Akello, on her return home, she was expelled by her family. She claims that her mother, Helen Odongo even stopped their neighbors from giving her any kind of help. Left without any alternative, Akello decided to stay with her 75-year-old uncle, Obongo Kwirino.

Akello explains that on completion of her treatment, she was declared negative but her family declined to take her back. “I am now stuck here with my uncle in the house you are seeing” she told URN while pointing at her uncle’s house. Her mother, Helen Odongo denies any involvement in expelling her daughter from home.

Odongo claims that she was away by the time Akello’s hut was razed down. She instead referred URN to her husband, Joseph Odongo who also denied demolishing Akello’s hut. Patrick Owach, the brother to Okello says they have tried to settle the matter between Akello and her family in vain. He explains that both Akello’s father and mother don’t want her.

Hepatitis B is a viral infection that attacks the liver and can cause both acute and chronic disease. According to WHO, the virus is transmitted through contact with the blood or other body fluids of an infected person.

WHO notes that an estimated 240 million people are chronically infected with hepatitis B. More than 680,000 of these die annually due to complications of hepatitis B, including cirrhosis and liver cancer. Hepatitis B can be prevented by available safe and effective vaccine.



Masaka Hospital bosses arrested for embezzling funds

Two top officials of Masaka Regional Referral Hospital are in trouble for alleged embezzlement of billions of Shillings. They are Dr. Florence Tugumisirize, the Director Masaka Regional Referral Hospital and the Principal Hospital Administrator, Ereazer Mugisha.

The duo was picked up in a night raid by police and officers from the State House Drug monitoring Unit paralyzing health service delivery to patients. Five other officials attached to the finance department whose particulars haven’t been established have also been arrested.

Some of the operatives who conducted the raid told URN on condition of anonymity that the suspects are wanted for the theft of billions of Shillings. According to one of the sources, the officials are implicated in the Auditor General’s and State House Health Monitoring Audit Unit reports for failure to account for over 5billion Shillings.

John Mwaule, the Masaka District Police Commander declined to comment on the arrests, saying investigations are still ongoing. The arrested officials are in custody at Masaka Central Police Station. The suspects have not yet commented on the matter as they couldn’t be reached by our reporter.

Swaibu Sulambaaya, the Chairman of Patients Masaka Regional Referral Hospital, says they are happy with the arrest of the top administrators. Sulambaaya alleges that the hospital suspended patient meals illegally yet government releases money to feed patients without financial support.

Last year, the Auditor General faulted the hospital management for allowing the shoddy construction of the maternity and children wards. Government released Shillings 10 billion for the work.




Iganga hospital runs out gloves forcing patients to buy their own

Iganga Hospital has not had surgical gloves for the last three months since the last consignment from the National Medical Stores-NMS run out in October, URN has learnt.

As a result, patients admitted at Iganga Hospital have to buy gloves from the nearby pharmacies or drugs shops if health workers have to attend to them. Surgical Gloves are vital for protecting both medical workers and patients from infections.

Charles Okello, an attendant to one of the patients at Iganga Hospital, told URN that they buy gloves each time a medic attends to his patient. “A single pair of gloves on the open market costs between Shillings 3000 and 5000,” he said.

Mariam Kagoya, an expectant mother who our reporter found at the hospital, said she told to buy gloves outside the hospital.

Dr. Constantine Ochwo, a medic at the hospital says it is a pity that patients who cannot afford buying gloves are not treated. According to Ochwo, medics can’t treat patients without gloves for fear of catching infection.

Dr. James Waako, the Medical Superintendent Iganga Hospital acknowledges the challenge, which he attributes on the overwhelming number of patients the hospital attends to.

According to Waako, they receive more than 500 patients each day. He says most of the medical supplies they receive from the National Medical Stores are consumed in less than two weeks yet supply is made after every two months.

Dr. Waako, however, notes that the hospital has made an emergency order for fresh supplies from NMS.




Poor hygiene in Kabarole health facilities increase cases of hospital acquired infections

Hospital acquired infections continue to rise in Kabarole health facilities, a research by the District Health Department has revealed. According to the research, at least 15 cases of hospital acquired infections are reported every month.

The research shows that the infections are contracted from the environment, patients and staff due to poor hygiene in and around health facilities. The report adds that some health facilities do not have water and soap for washing hands while in others patients share wards.

The most common infections are urinary tract infection- UTIs and pneumonia. At Rwimi Health Centre III, Moses Baguma, a health worker, says that eight patients acquired infections at the facility last month. Baguma blames patients and their attendants for not adhering to proper hygiene conditions.

Faith Kobusinge, a nurse at Bukuku Health Centre IV, says that patients who contract other infections leads to their prolonged stay in the facilities, which puts a burden on the health facility due to limited space. However some residents argue that it’s the health facilities to blame for the infections.

Peter Mukonyezi, a resident of Rwimi town council says that due to inadequate sanitary facilities, patients suffering from different ailments are forced to share wards, washrooms and toilets, which aid the spread of such infections.

He cites his brother who contracted tuberculosis after spending a month in the TB ward at the facility where he was admitted after being involved in an accident.

Brenda Kobugabe, the Kabarole District Health Educator says that the department has started taking precaution to stop infections. She explains that the department has launched a toilet and bathroom etiquette campaign in health facilities.

Kobugabe adds that some patients and attendants don’t know how to use toilet and bathroom facilities, exposing their health to infections. She adds that health workers are also encouraged to wash their hands and use gloves, which could reduce infections.

According to the World Health Organization, one in ten people in developing countries contract an infection while in hospital due to poor quality healthcare. WHO states that healthcare-related infections are anywhere between two to 20 times higher than in developed countries.

Last month, WHO released guidelines to stop hospital acquired infections.  The guidelines recommend that antibiotics used to prevent and treat bacterial infections, should only be used to prevent infections before and during surgery, a crucial measure in stopping the spread of antibiotic resistance.

The move is aimed at tackling hospital-acquired infections usually caused by bacteria that get in through incisions made during surgery.