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UNICEF boosts health centre with essential new-born support equipment

By Catherine Ntabadde Makumbi

Neonatal related diseases remain a major cause of death among the new born children with the rates stagnating at 27 deaths per 1,000 live births. The situation can be worse in districts outside Kampala.

For the Teso sub region in Eastern Uganda, there is hope to reduce on the numbers of new born deaths resulting from preterm births, asphyxia, pneumonia, sepsis after UNICEF Uganda through Baylor Uganda supported Princes Diana Health Centre IV with essential new born support services equipment.

The equipment which included delivery beds, infant weighing scales, Ambu bags  as (manual resuscitators), digital thermometers, incubators, photo therapy machines, pulse ox meters was handed over to the Health Centre in charge by Uganda’s State Minister of Health Sarah Opendi on July 31st by representatives from Baylor and UNICEF.

Baylor is an implementing partner of UNICEF for the keeping babies alive Programme. The UN Children’s Fund is contributing towards capacity building of the health workers and purchase of equipment to keep babies alive.

Dr. Josen Kiggundu, Regional Coordinator of the project at Baylor noted that premature birth, failure to breath at birth, infections remain core causes of death among the new born. He said the equipment provided is geared towards reducing the country’s neonatal mortality. Baylor is supporting 100 health centres in Teso sub region with integrated health packages.

The Situation of Children in Uganda report 2015 produced by Ministry of Gender with support from UNICEF indicates that 13 children die on their first day, 20 die in the first week while 27 die in the first 28 days.

Located in Soroti Municipality, 3 miles along Soroti-Moroto road, Princes Diana Health Centre IV, the facility provides curative, preventive and medical services to 28,332 patients annually, according to Dr Moses Adakun the In Charge. The health centre was constructed in 1999 and started operations in 2002 as a Health Centre II.

Dr Adakun informed the Health State Minister and other dignitaries on the need to establish a ‘Janet’ ward to accommodate the increasing number of paediatric patients. Janet is in reference to the First Lady Mrs. Janet Museveni who was in the region to launch the 9th Elimination of Mother to Child HIV Transmission (eMTCT) campaign. Handing over the equipment and commissioning of the renovations of the health centre was one of the activities to mark the launch. Baylor Uganda contributed to the renovations.

According to the Reproductive Maternal, New-born and Child health (RMNCH) sharpened plan for Uganda, other major diseases killing children are pneumonia with 52 deaths per day, malaria 42 and diarrhoea 3.

UNICEF Uganda working with the Government of Uganda and partners remains committed to keep children and mothers alive by supporting disease prevention, antenatal care, nutrition interventions, community health, water, sanitation and hygiene interventions and HIV prevention. UNICEF is currently engaged in the follow up of rolling out the RMNCH score card as a crucial element of monitoring the RNMCH sharpened plan.

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