St. Mary’s Hospital Lacor has been declared a center of excellence for managing sickle cell disease by the Ministry of Health. This followed a two-days workshop conducted by the ministry in partnership with Uganda Catholic Medical Bureau, UCMB.
“We’ve been treating sickle disease since the founding of this hospital,” says Dr Emintone Odong, the Medical Director. “Things like hydroxyurea was a dream from afar, but now we even have them for free, so I thank the ministry and UCMB for this partnership to fight the disease together.”
Nsereko Frida, Program Office, CPHL MoH praised the hospital for remaining true to its mission. “I was so impressed, when I came, to see that Lacor is doing what it is supposed to do,” she said. Ms Nsereko encouraged the health workers to lead by example and take the sickling test to know their statuses. Ms Nsereko also handed a national guidelines for management and prevention of sickle cell disease book to the hospital.
The Program Officer, Familia Nawiria at UCMB, Dickson Baraza, revealed that they’ve so far setup 8 centers for excellence in managing and preventing sickle cell disease in the country. “I appreciate the hospital administration for their support. We’re very happy that Lacor is part of the program for this region,” he said. Mr. Baraza also said that UCMB is supporting health facilities on electronic data capture.
Representing the community, Mrs Christine Obol appealed to the government to increase awareness on sickle disease and make services available for free. “Most of the parents are not accessing sickle cell services because they cannot afford. Let us sensitise the young ones before they get married to avoid these problems of men running away and leaving the women to suffer with the children,” she said. Mrs Obol has three children living with sickle cell disease. “We first detected the disease when i had my third child. I was advised to stop giving birth but I opted for family planning instead.” But family planning failed her and the result was another two children living with sickle cell disease.
The immediate outputs of the Training included among others, Newborn Screening for SCD, Intentional capture and remittance of SCD data. Dr Odong thanked the ministry and UCMB and pledged to make the center huge a success. Community sensitisation, awareness campaigns and patient home visits are top of the agenda.