Lack of BP Machines Thwarts Preeclampsia Treatment in Lira District

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In short
The condition, which usually begins after 20 weeks of pregnancy in women whose blood pressure had been normal, can lead to serious, even fatal, complications if left untreated. It is known to be a major cause of maternal mortality worldwide.

The absence of Blood Pressure-BP Monitors in government facilities in Lira district has affected the management of Preeclampsia, a pregnancy complication characterized by high blood pressure.  





The condition, which usually begins after 20 weeks of pregnancy in women whose blood pressure had been normal, can lead to serious, even fatal, complications if left untreated. It is known to be a major cause of maternal mortality worldwide.  





Medics say that Preeclampsia sometimes develops without any symptoms. However, mothers are advised to monitor their blood pressure because the first sign of preeclampsia is commonly a rise in blood pressure. Blood pressure that exceeds 140/90 millimetres of mercury or greater, documented on two occasions, at least four hours apart is considered abnormal. 





But for expectant mothers in Lira district, the expectation is far from the reality due to the absence of blood pressure monitors in almost all government health facilities. About five to eight percent of pregnant mothers often present with preeclampsia in the district.  






Dr Isaac Orech, the Senior Medical Officer in charge of Amach Health Centre IV, says that their effort to fight preeclampsia is often impeded by the inadequacy of BP Machines. The centre has only one BP monitor which cannot serve all the user departments at the facility. The facility receives more than 200 patients in the outpatient department, every day.    




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Dr Orech described it as a huge burden that requires special attention.



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Dr Orech says that they hope to ensure availability of BP monitors now that they have been put on the result based financing program.  





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Sister Doreen Akuno, a senior medical officer at the Lira Regional Referral Hospital confessed she almost lost her life in 2004 due to late detection of preeclampsia infection. Akuno said she prematurely gave birth to her child after a surgical operation was conducted.   





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Harriet Aboko, another survivor of Preeclampsia, the Amach Sub County Chief who gave birth to her first child at the age of 30 said her life was only saved by the early detection of the infection. Aboko said she prematurely gave birth to her child at 8 months of pregnancy.





Robert Offiti, the Regional Manager for Coalition for Health Promotion and Social Development, HEPS-Uganda calls for a concerted effort to reduce infections among expectant mothers, and liberate them from the silent killer.

 

About the author

Ronald Odongo
Ronald Odongo is the URN Bureau Chief Lira, Northern Uganda.A multimedia Journalist, Media trainer and investigative enthusiast. Lira,Apac,Dokolo,Oyam, Kwania, Otuke, Amolatar,and Alebtong districts fall under his docket. Odongo has been a URN staff member since 2012 though he had been a contributor since 2006.

Odongo started out as a bicycle reporter for Radio Unity in 2004. He was Radio Rhino FM's senior reporter, Luo news anchor and station producer between 2006 and 2011. Odongo started out as a freelance writer for Uganda Radio Network in 2006.

Odongo is particularly interested in reporting on community health, and education concerns. Good governance and human rights beats are dear to Odongo as a former Lord’s Resistance Army rebels captive 1996-1998.