Uganda to commemorate the World Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus Day
As Uganda joins the rest of the World tomorrow 25 October to commemorate the World Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus Day, the health experts have expressed concern over the increasing rate of new born babies with Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus in the country.
This has been largely attributed to low intake of natural foods enrich of folic acid such as vegetables, fruits among others by expectant mothers.
World Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus Day is an international event celebrated around the world on October 25.
Dr Ndyowaawe Aaron Brown a pediatrician at Ruharo Mission Hospital in Mbarara, said that the new infections and deaths among new born babies diagnosed with the disease rose from 10 in previous years to 25 on daily basis which is worrying.
He revealed that people with Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus need timely and affordable access to specialized treatment and urgent surgery within 48 hours after births plus care throughout their lifespan.
Dr Ndyowaawe said that the cause of these diseases in new babies is due to several factors such as lack of folic acid and failure by expectant mothers to eat natural foods instead of rushing to junk foods.
He noted many children and adults living with Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus still don’t have access to the right treatment and care services, and that stigma and discrimination remain a reality in many families in Uganda.
Dr Nyowaawe called on government to come in and help in devising means to the problem faced by the families especially lack on enough specialized neurosurgeon and hospitals at the district level.
He said that in Uganda, there are only four programs which are OURS in Ruharo, Kateremwa share home, Cure children’s Hospital Mbale and Avis in Gulu District.
The general secretary of God Cares Parents Association an umbrella that brings together parents with children suffering from Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus, Kamukama John asked parents and families in the country came out to help spread the word about the causes and treatment of these conditions because the disease is manageable in early stage.
Kamukama tasked parents of children with such diseases to always take early their children for treatment saying that early interventions it will bring out better results and warned them stop the habit of hiding those children in homes.
Speaking to Principal nursing officer Itojo Hospital, Katusiiime Hope revealed that the disease is rare at the Itojo Hospital and they receive one in a year but asked expectant mothers to always deliver in hospital to avoid such incidences.
Spina Bifida is a birth defect, which affects the development of a baby’s spine during the first 28 days of a pregnancy.
About 57 percent of the time, hydrocephalus is brought about by infections due to unsafe birth practices such as giving birth from home and a child born with big head with water in it and keeps expanding.
Uganda’s celebrations will take place at Mbarara district headquarters Kamukuzi tomorrow Friday 25th October under the theme “Promoting prevention of Spina Bifida through folic acid supplementation.”
The chief guest will be the Minister of health Dr Jane Ruth Aceng.