Lira Regional Referral Hospital Struggles to Manage Pre-Eclampsia Cases

By Deo Wasswa

Lira Regional Referral hospital is struggling to manage expectant mothers with pre-eclampsia condition.

Pre-eclampsia is a pregnancy disorder characterized by hypertension especially after 20 weeks of pregnancy. The condition is the second cause of maternal deaths worldwide and the leading cause of maternal deaths at Mulago National Referral hospital.

The facility that receives about 100 expectant mothers on a daily basis for antenatal care, has only one blood pressure machine which is used to detect the condition.

Sister Judith Nanyonjo, a Senior Principle Nursing Offer at Lira Regional Referral hospital says that lack of enough blood pressure machines has often impeded their struggle to detect and manage the condition. On average from the open market a blood pressure machine costs about Shs. 200,000. Nanyonjo says that lack of BP machines means that some pregnant mothers will miss being diagnosed of the condition. She however says that the facility has resorted to borrowing BP machines from intern doctors but this is not reliable as they leave the facility after their training. She however notes that the hospital is engaging the ministry of health to get a solution.

The facility registers over 70 mothers annually with pre-eclampsia condition.

Nanyonjo also notes that the hospital lacks designated pre-eclampsia and a postnatal ward to accommodate over 20 deliveries daily.

She adds that the ward also faces a challenge of lack of patient trolleys to transfer mothers to and from the theater.

This was during the World Pre-eclampsia day commemoration that was organized by Coalition for Health Promotion and Social Development (HEPS-Uganda) on Wednesday at Lira Regional Referral hospital.

The day is commemorated worldwide with an aim of sensitizing the public about the condition.

Susan Aciro, a midwife at Lira Regional Referral hospital says that she suffered from pre-eclampsia and she was operated in her sixth month of pregnancy. She says that she was able to survive because she was closely monitored her blood pressure.

According to Beatrice Nyangoma, the Communications Officer for HEPS-Uganda, government should consider regulating prices for magnesium sulphate to improve affordability, availability and accessibility. In 2018, HEPS-Uganda conducted a survey which indicated that out of the 145 public, private and mission health facilities, only 53 had magnesium sulphate in stock.

In March 2019, Dr. Isaac Orec the in charge of Amach Health Center IV, said they had only one BP machine but they have finally procured six more which has improved detection of the condition.