The link between Mulago Hospital, Uganda and Liverpool Women’s Hospital in the UK, has enabled obstetric staff from Uganda to initiate plans to develop a High Dependency Unit (HDU) to respond to the needs of the most critical mothers.
Sadly, for many expectant women in sub-Saharan Africa, as soon as complications set in, death is almost inevitable. Prior to the link, reports indicated that out of the 25,863 women admitted to Mulago Hospital in 2009 alone, 69 died during childbirth – an annual rate of 270 per 100,000 deliveries.
By sharing knowledge and resources the link is working to end these preventable deaths. This link has set up the dedicated High Dependency Unit (HDU) and is now developing an effective patient management system to support the identification of seriously ill patients and their transferral to the dedicated HDU where fully trained staff can treat.
It is clear that the department has already improved patient management.
The results of the project are significant. According to Dr Sarah Nakubulwa, a lecturer and doctor in the Obstetrics and Gynaecology Department of the Hospital, there were no fatalities in the first 2 months after the HDU equipment were bought, installed and put into operation:
‘There were some patients who we thought may not survive, but thanks to the changes brought about by this project they did.’
The UK team has also benefited by gaining knowledge about obstructed labour, a common complication in Uganda. Dr Mark Muyingo, the project coordinator says:
‘Our partners in the UK have seen the various situations of obstructed labour that are common here. This is usually due to prolonged labour. Now, when expectant mothers, particularly immigrants, are admitted in the UK, our counterparts now have the skills and knowledge to handle such cases with more ease.'
IHLFS Team, British Council Uganda