Heart Institute Renews Call for More Equipment, Expansion

The Uganda Heart Institute (UHI) is overwhelmed by the numbers of people seeking treatment, yet it’s operating in very limited space and using inadequate equipment.

The issue came up as the heart institute, received an Electrocardiogram (ECG) machine from the Rotary Club of Nsangi. The machine that is used to record the electrical activity of the heart, as one of the two basic tests, only adds to five existing equipment at the hospital that is also the country’s national referral centre for heart disease. 

Dr Michael Oketcho, a consultant cardiac Surgeon told URN that the ECG helps a doctor to make a diagnosis, decide treatment interventions and follow up after treatment. He says it’s a must-have for heart treatment units starting from the basic outpatient department.

He says this machine is only part of a lot of equipment that they need to be able to cater for the big numbers that they receive.  An estimated 17,000 children are born with heart disease in Uganda annually of which 8,000 require a form of surgery but Oketcho can only handle not more than 200 each year because of the challenges of what they need to conduct the procedures.

He says that while having a stocked and functional Intensive Care Unit (ICU) is vital in heart disease treatment, their ICU can’t accommodate the beds they require to be able to handle more cases. 

On his part, Dr Cephas Mijumbi, the UHI  Acting Executive Director  said because of the enormous challenges they face, any additional helps save a life with now a threat of increasing cardiovascular diseases. 

He noted that Rotary has not come on board now but they have previously assisted in referrals abroad for cases that they can’t handle and also sponsored a number of their experts to train. The donation, he said comes in handy when they seeing cases increase especially of those who couldn’t access at the height of the lockdown to halt transmission of COVID-19.

Rotarian Irene Luweesi, the President-Elect of the Rotary Club of Nsangi said they spent 8. 5 million Shillings to procure the machine. The money was collected from a camping fellowship held in November.