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Mulago spent UGX 21m on Separating Twins that Shared a Liver :: Uganda Radionetwork
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Mulago spent UGX 21m on Separating Twins that Shared a Liver

Dr Rosemary Byanyima, the hospital Deputy Executive Director told URN this morning that in the just-concluded surgery where they had to separate conjoined twins that shared a liver, the hospital had to spend up to about 21 million Shillings.
Separated twins recovering at the Pediatric ward in Mulago

Audio 5

Mulago Hospital is pushing for an increase in funds allocated to special drugs needed by patients who undergo specialized surgeries.

Dr Rosemary Byanyima, the hospital Deputy Executive Director told URN this morning that in the just-concluded surgery where they had to separate conjoined twins that shared a liver, the hospital had to spend up to about 21 million Shillings (USD 6,000) on special drugs and sundries as their supplies from the National Medical Stores don’t include these.

//Cue in; “The hospital doesn’t…

Cue out…the hospital care.”// 

She says that since different Siamese twins for instance have different drug needs depending on organs and other body parts that they share, she says the cost of handling a single case can even go higher,  yet many parents of these babies can’t afford simple costs like feeding needs for babies both before and post-operation.

//Cue in; ”We get drugs from…

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Since 2020, the hospital has done four sets of surgeries with the latest being conducted two weeks ago. Dr John Sekabira, a consultant pediatric surgeon who led the team of specialists on this surgery which was conducted two months after the babies were born in Hoima regional referral hospital says the hospital is seeing an increase in such cases thing, he attributes to increased awareness.  

//Cue in; ”Of late they are...    

Cue out…separated four.”//  

He says that the babies who are now recovering on the ward, arrived at the hospital when they were only two days old. They were joined on the chest and the abdomen. The doctor says when further analyzed, they were found to be sharing walls of the heart and the liver.  

//Cue in; ”just on cross-examination…

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Dr Mary Theresa Nabukenya, a pediatric anesthesiologist on the team says it took them more than five hours to conduct the surgery although, the plan started as soon as the twins arrived on the ward where they had to call other specialists from other health facilities for help. She says three of the four pediatric anesthesiologists the whole country has were present for the surgery.  

//Cue in; ”The anaesthesia team…

Cue out…To have live babies.”// 

However, conjoined twins especially in African countries like Uganda rarely survive and when they survive usually, they don’t survive the surgery.  Uganda’s first conjoined twins to survive were operated on nine years ago in a surgery that was conducted in Egypt.

Sekabira says all the four seats that have been operated on at Mulago recently are okay and that they occasionally visit the hospital for review including the most complicated one done in September  2020 which involved separating blood vessels and the spinal cord. He says they continuously monitor them for they usually have complications that require special attention, although he notes that they can generally live a normal life.

Though he says there could be environmental factors leading to the birth of Conjoined babies, scientifically he explains that these babies come out as a result of incomplete separation of identical twins.  

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