Shortage of Neurosurgeons in Uganda Constraining Service Delivery
The shortage of neurosurgeons in Uganda has constrained services offered by the specialists in the country.
Doctors Michael Muhumuza, Joel Kiryabwire, Husein Senyonjo and John Baptist Mukasa are the only doctors in the national referral hospital who are trained to operate on brain problems yet the hospital has more than 50 patients at a time in need of their services.
According to Dr. John Baptist Mukasa, one of the only four consultants in the country, even though their services in the country are among the most sought after, especially by people with head and brain injuries, the lack of surgeons has placed the strain on them.
Dr. Mukasa says to fill the void; they sometimes resort to passing on instructions to general surgeons carrying out delicate head surgeries in upcountry hospitals using phone calls, whatsApp messages and short text messages.
This, he explains, is to handle emergency surgeries in areas where they are unable to travel. He suggested that the government should train more neurosurgeons so there is one stationed at every district or regional referral hospital.
Other neurosurgeons in the country are Dr. Michael Muhumuza, a senior consultant neurosurgeon at Mulago National Referral Hospital, Dr. Joel Kiryabwire and Dr. Hussein Senyonjo of Case Clinic, a private facility.
Dr. Muhumuza, while speaking to MPs on the Health Committee on Friday, revealed that due to the high number of cases the hospital receives, especially of an average of 100 accident cases of victims daily, the neurosurgical unit is severely constrained.
He reveals that they have abandoned other cases like surgeries on congenital anomalies and brain tumors to cater for emergency trauma cases arising from accident and iron bar-hit victims.
Among the concerns raised during the committee visit was scarcity of anesthesia for the unit, lack of a functional CT and MRI scan to conduct x-rays on victims.
Dr. Michael Bukenya, Bukuya County MP and chairman Health committee lamented over government’s allocations to the health sector and to the hospitals. He promised to lobby for more human resource and drugs to the hospital.