Thursday, March 26, 2015

Shs225 million needed for resuscitation machines

A set of the device contains an ambu bag (neonatal bag) and mask used to blow air into the lungs; suction bulb for sucking out the mucus and a training mannequin to be used to train health workers on the procedure
By Sandra Janet Birungi
Posted  Thursday, March 26  2015 at  02:00
Kampala. A total of Shs225m is needed to buy resuscitation devices used to suck out mucus from lungs in newborn babies to enable them breathe and survive thereafter.
The failure to breathe at birth, known as birth asphyxia, is one of the leading causes of child mortality and can be prevented by use of resuscitation devices. The device costs about Shs300,000, according to Mr Moses Kamabare, the executive director of National Medical Stores (NMS).
“If we are to go by the 2013 study conducted by White Ribbon Alliance in the districts of Lira, Mityana and Kabale, on average, 20 machines are needed per district. With 112 districts, we would need 750 machines; and with each machine costing about Shs300,000, we would need Shs225m to buy them, which is not expensive,” he said.
Dr Jesca Nsungwa Sabiiti says one in every 10 children born needs resuscitation at birth, accounting for 106 deaths every year or 26 per cent of the neonatal deaths in the country. She adds that if these deaths are not addressed, child mortality will not be reduced.
“Most deaths in children are preventable and one of the ways of preventing them is through the use of these devices; they should be distributed to health centres together with the drugs from NMS. But for them to be made available, districts have to request for them such that the ministry can undertake the exercise to purchase and distribute them countrywide, he said adding: “It is also important to purchase the right devices which can easily be used at the health centers.” 
To ensure that health centre IIIs and IVs across the country get these devices, Dr Anthony Mbonye, the commissioner for community health services at the Ministry of Health issued a directive to NMS to include the purchase of the devices.
Ms Robina Riteyi, the national coordinator of White Ribbon Alliance, said this will be a more sustainable form of ensuring they are available for use at the different health centres.
The General Manager National Medical Stores Moses Kamabare chats with Commission Clinical Services Dr Jacinto Amandua after the policy feedback meeting at Mackinnon Suites

L-R: WRA-Ug National Coordinator Robina Biteyi, AMREF Project Coordinator on UN Life Saving Commodities Dr. Stephen Ayella and Asst Commissioner MoH Dr Jesca Nsungwa during a policy feedback meeting organized by White Ribbon Alliance at Mackinnon Suites

White Ribbon Alliance Senfuka Samuel consulting National Medical Stores Board Member Ms Sarah Nyombi (R) and The General Manager Mr Moses Kamabare at the meeting