Uganda Launches Pediatric Surgical Plan

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The Ministry of Health has launched a Pediatric Surgical Plan to ensure access to timely, safe and affordable surgical care for children as it is key in achieving universal health care coverage.

The surgical plan was launched by the ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Dr. Diana Atwine on Thursday, 16th March 2023, who acknowledged the shortage of both human resources and equipment.

Atwine said that the plan is in partnership with the Kids Operating Room (Kids OR), a global health charity organization that aims at scaling up Pediatric Surgical services to regional referral and national hospitals in the country.

According to Atwine, the ministry and it’s partners have a five year plan that will see an improvement in the Pediatric Surgical care system in the regional referral and national hospitals across the country in a bid to develop a critical mass of highly skilled human resources for health, including Pediatric surgeons as well as improve the infrastructure and Equipment of theaters.

 

“We have now put significant focus on expanding access to services for Paediatric Surgery and enveloping Tertiary units to manage complicated cases,” Dr. Atwine said.


Among the 
initiatives include, Entebbe Children’s Hospital, renovation and Equipment of operating theatres across referral and district hospitals, establishment of the ICUs across all regional referral hospitals, training more general surgeons and support staff among others.

She said that all these aim at ensuring that no child dies, or lives a life of disability or pain due to a surgically treatable condition.

“This will strengthen Paediatric surgical services in Uganda. Under this partnership, we are setting up a children’s surgical care system with 12 Regional Centers of Excellence, a super specialist Center at Mulago NRH, as well as developing the required critical mass of Human Resource,” Atwine noted.


She revealed that this initiative swaps first conceived at a meeting with the Kids OR team in London where they discussed partnership to strengthen
 Paediatric Surgery and nursing in Uganda.

Garreth Wood, the Chairperson and Co-founder of the Kids Operating Room said the plan will have a great impact on the health care system of the country.

“This will help more children get the right care, at the right time and in the right place, something we shouldall be extremely proud of. If fully implemented, it will save thousands of lives in the year to come,” Wood said.

He added that the plan would cost at least Shs. 21 billion to deliver.

Uganda has a number of children who are diseased, but lack access to resources required for them to get care. This will address a big part of that gap.

Uganda has only 8 Paediatric surgeons who work at Mulago National Hospital, and Mbarara referral hospital.

Additionally, capacity building of critical Human Resource is ongoing.

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