Dr Atwine with consultants from the Connecticut Children’s Medical Centre & University of Connecticut, Chairman of the Board, Dr Be Mbonye and the Chief Executive Dr Simon Luzige

Nakasero Hospital and Connecticut Children’s Medical Centre and the University of Connecticut; USA, have launched the first Therapeutic Hypothermia Treatment Centre in Uganda at an event held on the hospital grounds.

The therapeutic hypothermia treatment center was launched by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Health Dr. Diana Atwine.

“Neonatal hypothermia is a medical condition that occurs when a baby’s temperature progressively drops below 35C (normal body temperature is around 37C). It is a medical emergency that if not urgently treated in hospital, may lead to disability or death,” Dr. Atwine said.

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She said its symptoms may be pale, clammy, blotchy skin, and sometimes a rash, poor feeding, fast breathing, moaning cry, cold hands, and feet. Emergency care may be a warm bath, wrapping the baby in thick warm clothes, or warm beverages to help raise body temperature; as you go to the hospital.

“We thank the team at Nakasero Hospital for the contribution towards provision of health services to Ugandans. Specifically, we thank you for this and similar initiatives. It is selfless that they considered not only their staff but other health workers like from Kawempe Hospital,” she said.

According to Dr. Ben Mbonye, Chairman of the Board, Nakasero Hospital, the center caters to babies that have  Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy(Birth Asphyxia) meaning that a number of babies that would otherwise be left helpless will now have access to treatment that can save their lives and also offer them a chance to lead a normal life.

There was also a training workshop conducted during this two-day event primarily for the nursing staff through didactic lectures as well practical aspects of therapeutic hypothermia.

Birth asphyxia is among the leading causes of neonatal mortality in Uganda. Therapeutic hypothermia significantly reduces mortality and neurodevelopmental disability in babies that have had hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (birth asphyxia).

A Therapeutic hypothermia center will open at Nakasero hospital starting in October 2022. The center will be equipped with the first servo-control therapeutic hypothermia devices in Uganda.

“We invited Pediatricians, Obstetricians, Pediatric Senior House Officers as well as nurses from both the private and public hospitals in Kampala including Mulago Hospital, Kawempe Hospital, Naguru Hospital, Nsambya Hospital, Mengo Hospital, and Rubaga Hospital,” he said.

 “We believe that the training will equip the clinicians with knowledge on the treatment of Birth Asphyxia and we also hope that Therapeutic Hypothermia Treatment Centers can be established across the country,” he said.

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