Mulago Hospital is Uganda’s only tertiary referral hospital and delivers around 30,000 babies every year. It isn’t therefore surprising that its Special Care Unit (SCU) admits up to 18 babies everyday and is often home to more than 60 babies at any one time. The majority of babies are admitted to SCU due to prematurity (being born too early), low birth weight, newborn infection or newborn brain injury. Together, these conditions account for nearly all the newborn deaths in Uganda and are the cause of around 3 deaths on SCU everyday. The SCU nurses and doctors work really hard to care for these sick, small and preterm newborns, however to help save more lives they are in need of simple resources that we take for granted in the UK.
To help save and improve the lives of these vulnerable babies, starting in 2012 for 9 months, Born on the Edge was involved in a project delivering training within the unit on basic newborn care. We also raised some money for some simple but essential equipment that is designed to be robust and last in low resource settings. An example of this were six ‘Lifebox’ pulse oximeters. Small pieces of medical equipment that measure the amount of oxygen in a baby’s blood. This equipment allows the nursing staff to determine who needs oxygen to help them survive and who doesn’t.