Congenital heart disease in children is still a great challenge in Uganda, as it is worldwide. It is estimated that 1.6 million babies are born each year, of which 8000 will have a congenital heart condition that is significant enough to warrant treatment
According to the latest world health organization (WHO) data published in 2018 Coronary Heart Disease Deaths in Uganda reached 10,442 or 4.02% of total deaths.
This month we turn the spotlight on the Uganda Heart Association a young association founded 13 years ago by an ambitious team of cardiologists, cardio thoracic surgeons, physicians, nurses and allied healthcare providers, with the aim to provide a backbone for cardiovascular services in Uganda and support the only center for cardiovascular care in the country, the Uganda Heart Institute.
Since the beginning, the association has developed several programme for cardiovascular health promotion and disease prevention and worked with the all-Ugandan stakeholders to address the looming non-communicable disease challenge, offering its expertise and skills in improving access to care.
Congenital heart disease in children is still a great challenge in Uganda, as it is worldwide. It is estimated that 1.6 million babies are born each year, of which 8000 will have a congenital heart disease that is significant enough to warrant treatment. The Uganda Heart Institute (UHI) is able to perform open heart surgeries, but it is constrained by inadequate funding, operating and ICU space.
Maternal mortality is still very high with 336/100 000 live births. This is due to conditions such as hemorrhage, pre-programming, gestational hypertension and Rheumatic Heart Disease (RHD) which contributes to a large extent. Uganda has a very low obesity rate of 8.6% in females and just 1.8% in males.
The organization is in a unique position to address issues and challenges associated with the management of cardiovascular disease – from prevention of lifestyle to improving access to care for people living with RHD.
Due to a limited number of cardiac specialists in the country, Kisubi hospital heart Centre two years ago, started serious operations in December 2019.
Kisubi hospital which commenced heart operations, has so far conducted 32 advanced treatments which is passion-ed for adults and children.
Meanwhile every year in September 29th Kisubi hospital joins to celebrate the world health organization(who) and world heart federation. According to Dr, John Omagino, the executive director of Uganda heart institute, “The commemoration is meant to bring all stake holders to awaken heart disease which are responsible for at least 17million premature deaths. By 2030, we shall be losing 23million people annually to cardio vascular disease,’
Dr. Asaba Robert, a medical director of kisubi hospital explained prevention of heart diseases, “regular exercise, less consumption of fatty foods, better diet like eating vegetables, fruits and cereals, good lifestyle can prevent heart diseases,” says Dr Asaba.
Because of the increase number of people with heart disease, Dr Asaba said that they do checkup once or twice a year and they decided to reduce on initial amount they used to charge from people which was 250’000 and now this year they decided to charge 150,000 so that they can provide services to all people and even those with low cost.
“This exercise will also be an opportunity to educate and inform people with heart conditions” said Dr Asaba.
The common signs of heart problem are chest pain, unusual heart beats, being tired easily. Swelling of feats and generally weakness according to the experts in heat disease.
Dr Sanmath Shetty an adult intervention cardiologist explained how operations of heart disease can be carried out, the catheterization procedure used by the Kisubi medics helps to handle heart complications without open heart surgery.
” The cause of cardiac problems is high potation, lack of physical exercise, smoking and much alcohol can cause heart problems” Dr Sanmath added.
Kisubi hospital has got other services offered which include intensive care unit, CT- scan services, dental services, dermatology and skin care, internal medicine among others.
This hospital started as a small health post by European missionary sisters in 1904 to manage cases of sleeping sicknesses that was an epidemic in 1988, the sisters handed over the hospitals to the catholic church to Kampala archdiocese before the church appointed the immaculate heart of Marry separatrix (IHMR) of ggogonya to run the hospital.