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.






Kim Kardashian spends Thanks Giving with Kanye in hospital

Kim Kardashian is spending Thanksgiving by her husband’s side.

E! News has learned that Kanye West will remain hospitalized during the holiday, and Kim is currently with him.

“Kanye is trying to get better, but he has not been released yet because he and the doctors feel he needs more time to recover,” a source tells E! News.

“Kim is indeed with him and will be by his side for a while today. She plans on going to eat with her family later and the kids. North and Saint [West] just think their dad is away now. Kanye wants to get better, so that’s s big part in this healing process. Kim is overwhelmed but is doing the best she can.”

As for Yeezy’s current status, another source tells E! News, “he is actually doing really well.”

Earlier this week, we reported that the rapper voluntarily admitted himself into a Los Angeles area hospital. According to a separate source, the star had been working around the clock on fashion design, his tour and other projects. It ultimately became exhausting and a bit too much to handle for the A-list star.

“She is just holding things down like Kanye did for her when she needed support,” a source previously shared with E! News exclusively. “Kim is doing much better and is strong. This shall pass she believes.”

“Kim is by his side now and will stand there till everything gets better,” our insider shared. “Their time together was just about support. Kanye will be ok. He has a good set of doctors and the main thing is he wants to get through this.”

“Kim was concerned that he may have been taking on too much with all these shows,” a source explained to E! News. “It was many things on his plate that started to pile up at once.”

Under his doctor’s direction, Kanye doesn’t have a phone or computer as he continues his hospital stay.







Tanzanian man’s height hindering his health, as doctors can’t operate him

Baraka Elias, who is 7ft 4in (2.20m), said he needed hip replacement surgery after hurting himself in a fall.

However, doctors at a hospital in Dar es Salaam, told him that his height meant he would not fit properly in a hospital bed, Mr Elias said.

They also told him their X-ray equipment was unsuitable for someone of his height, he added.

Local media quote doctors at the specialist Muhimbili Orthopaedic Institute in the commercial capital, Dar es Salaam, confirming Mr Elias’ story.

Tanzania has poor health services, compared with countries in the west.

Mr Elias, said to be the tallest man in Tanzania, told BBC Swahili that doctors were now trying to see if he could be treated abroad.

Mr Elias said many people were amazed by his height, but he regarded it as “normal”.

His parents told him it was hereditary, he added.



How can we tame ruthlessness in private hospitals ?

A visit to a private international hospital in Kampala last week was a heart-wrenching experience.

My friend had given birth and this was meant to be a joyous occasion. Her trouble, however, started when she went to her regular clinic for antenatal check-up and was told she was dilating, and was already at five centimeters (women who have given birth before will understand this).

The nurse asked her if she was feeling any pain and she said no. She was asked to go back home. According to specialists, she should have been admitted because the baby was ready to be delivered.

After a few days at home without any change, she went back to the clinic for another review. A test was carried out and it was discovered she was still at five centimeters. The nurse on duty asked an assistant to induce labour. There were two expectant mothers and the measurements of the solution used to induce labour were different.

My friend had contractions so fast whereas the other one who was at four centimeters was not reacting; meaning the least of the two measurements was given to her, yet it was supposed to be my friend’s. My friend pushed the baby without much force, but it came out looking purple and made no sound.

The baby was rushed to a nearby hospital, but the parents were not assisted because they were not insured and they did not have enough money. The doctors there could not even touch the child without a cash deposit!

They had to try a second hospital. Here, the baby was admitted. Up to this point, the baby had not produced a sound, although the purple colour was slowly clearing. The doctors at this hospital were not friendly either. An old female doctor uttered words such as “your child does not have eyes…”

Nobody was saying if such a case had been witnessed before or what the actual problem was. Several tests were done without a proper explanation. On the second day, my friend and her husband could not have any more of the negativity; they asked to be discharged. They were only given a discharge sheet and when they asked for the x-ray and ultrasound scan images, they were told those were hospital property.

They went to another hospital. It had been three days and four hospitals since the birth of this child and the parents had received no proper diagnosis but negativity, hurtful words and tests.

My friend had had a normal pregnancy and this was her third child. The previous ones were all natural births. At the fourth hospital, doctors insinuated that all this was because she had been sent home after she had dilated five centimeters.

It is possible the baby was detached and because it was not delivered immediately, there was a struggle to remain breathing, the ventricles did not close on time. Another test revealed the heart was on the right side, and the baby’s blood deoxygenated. The baby was taken to nursery.

They stayed in the fourth hospital for several days and were discharged. Two days later, the baby developed a temperature. The mother called the doctor who saw the child last for some advice. She was referred to another hospital that has a neonatologist.

On reaching this fifth hospital, the first question was whether they were cash-patients or insured? As soon as they said cash, the demands started: “you won’t be admitted unless you deposit some money”. Lucky for them, they had some cash. The deposit was made and admission done.

Another round of tests started during their three-day stay here, some costing as much as Shs 500,000! Remember they took the baby there because of a temperature; no mention of that was made!

It is common in Uganda to talk about public hospitals that lack facilities, but have we ever scrutinized the way private hospitals that seemingly have it all treat their patients? A doctor’s main role is to save a life; but in these hospitals, it seems the order is “do not touch a patient unless the money part is sorted”.

I know these are businesses, but I would expect their biggest priority to be treating a patient, and restoring their life, and not leaving one to bleed to death because they don’t have cash at hand!

Lives have been lost, hospitals and doctors sued for neglect but it looks like no lesson has been learnt. Healthcare has been made very expensive and those without money die miserably.

When a pregnant mother goes to a rural hospital, she is advised on what to carry on the day they are going to give birth. These include gloves, cotton wool, gauze and a few other necessities. It is a shame for a respected hospital to send someone a bill including fees for gloves, syringes, nurse, meals, etc.

There is no problem with these things being paid for but I would prefer all that to be classified as medical care or something, not Shs 40,000 being specified as the amount being given to a nurse who did not even spend two minutes on a child.

From this hospital visit, I discovered there are a lot of underlying charges that break people’s backs. If this goes on unabated, we will have patients and dead bodies retained because of the huge bills presented to people when they finally recover or lose their loved ones.

As we make noise about what is not in some of our health facilities, let us not allow the ‘well-equipped’ ones to exploit people. It has been a gruesome three weeks for this young couple.

Jackie Nakee

The author is a Capital FM Big Breakfast show presenter.

WHO announces new DDA drug cures Hepatitis C

More than a million people in low and middle-income countries have been treated with highly effective new drugs for hepatitis C, since its introduction two years ago.

Hepatitis C is a viral infection that cases inflammation of the liver. It is transmitted from person to person through unscreened blood transfusions as well as contaminated needles and instruments used for tattooing and body piercing.

The disease can cause both acute and chronic hepatitis infection, ranging in severity from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a serious, lifelong illness.

Many of the chronic sufferers treated, have been completely cured said the World Health Organization-WHO on Thursday, during the launch of a report detailing results of a two-year-old programme involving new drugs known as Direct Acting Antivirals, or DAAs.

The new medicines have a cure rate of over 95 percent, and can completely cure the disease within three months. They also have fewer side effects than previously available therapies, according to Gottfried Hirnschall, the director of WHO’s HIV/Global Hepatitis Programme.

But at an initial estimated price of US$ 8500  (29 million Shillings) they were not affordable even in high-income countries.

When the antivirals were first approved in 2013, there were widespread fears that their high price would put them out of reach for the more than 80 million people with chronic hepatitis C infections worldwide. Around 700,000 people die each year from the disease globally.

Dr Gottfried observes that although access still remains beyond the reach for most people, the progress is encouraging.

A range of low- and middle-income countries are beginning to succeed in getting drugs to people who need them, through licensing agreements, local production and price negotiations. The countries include among others, Rwanda, Egypt, Morocco and Nigeria.

“Licensing agreements and local production in some countries have gone a long way to make these treatments more affordable,” says Dr Suzanne Hill, WHO Director for Essential Medicines and Health Products.

For example, the price of a three-month treatment in Egypt dropped from US$ 900 (3 million Shillings) in 2014 to less than US$ 200 (684,000 Shillings) in 2016, according to a new Global Report on Access to Hepatitis C Treatment: Focus on Overcoming Barriers, released today.

In May 2016, at the World Health Assembly, 194 countries adopted the first-ever Global Health Sector Strategy on Viral Hepatitis, agreeing to eliminate hepatitis as a public health threat by 2030. The strategy includes a target to treat 80% of people in need by this date.