Home Health Accident Surge Strains Mulago Hospital’s Surgical Services

Accident Surge Strains Mulago Hospital’s Surgical Services

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Mulago National Referral Hospital has seen a significant increase in the number of patients requiring emergency surgery, which doctors attribute to the growing number of road accidents. Dr. Michael Edgar Muhumuza, the head of neurosurgery at the hospital, reported this increase during an announcement about an upcoming surgical camp from October 2 to October 6.

Around five months ago, the hospital typically treated about 10 to 12 patients needing emergency surgery each week. However, as of now, they are attending to a minimum of 30 patients per week, and sometimes the number goes up to nearly 40, marking a threefold increase. Dr. Muhumuza expressed concern about the rising number of road accidents and urged people to follow road safety rules, including wearing helmets and avoiding reckless driving.

Children are also among the accident victims, with some being hit while walking to school or while playing near roads. Dr. Muhumuza mentioned that they have observed seasonal spikes in cases where children are injured in accidents involving boda bodas (motorcycle taxis).

The 2022 Police Annual Crime Report revealed that 650 children under the age of 18 lost their lives due to road accidents in Uganda. In the same year, there were approximately 20,394 road crashes that resulted in 3,901 fatalities, marking a 17% increase in fatal crashes compared to the previous year.

Dr. Norbert Orwotho, the head of surgical services at Mulago hospital, explained that the influx of accident victims often delays surgeries for other patients with different medical conditions because accident cases are treated as emergencies. A study conducted in 2020 at Mulago hospital highlighted the negative impact of delayed surgeries on patient outcomes.

The hospital’s management disclosed that they spend over Shs76 million daily to treat road accident victims, covering costs such as human resources, blood tests, and medicine. The expenses vary depending on the severity of injuries, ranging from Shs1.5 million to Shs13.6 million per patient.

Uganda’s Directorate of Traffic and Road Safety attributes these accidents to reckless driving, especially speeding and improper overtaking. They are working to increase road safety awareness and enforce traffic regulations to reduce such incidents.

In preparation for the upcoming surgical camp, Mulago hospital has more than 80 surgeons available to handle patients. The hospital plans to perform surgeries on approximately 4,000 patients during the camp, and the services will be provided free of charge. The surgical camp will include screening, health education, and necessary diagnostic tests, such as laboratory tests and X-rays, all at no cost to the patients.