Uganda stuck with only 12 neurosurgeons

Written by: 
Malomo Fatuma

Latest reports indicate that Uganda with a population of about 40 Million people has only 12 neurosurgeons.

This shortfall is however attributed to the length of the programme which is very expensive.

According to Dr. Joel Kiryabwire a senior consultant neurosurgeon at Mulago hospital, one has to finance his or her way for 6-7 years in order to become a neurosurgeon which is difficult thus making many people opt for shorter programmes.

With that background, access to a good service puts many people's lives are at risk and that neurosurgeon surgery operations cost a lot of money.

At Mulago hospital, a government facility, for example, a CT scan use costs about shs 120,000 while an MRI is about shs 750,000 in a private clinic however a private brain operation abroad costs shs 54m to shs 81m.

"It is so expensive to treat a patient who needs a neurological surgery, my daughter Marry died in August 2016 of a brain tumour but just because her father and I could not afford to pay for her surgery," Said Zahrah Namukwaya a resident of Nansana Municipality.

Namukwaya explained that doctors directed her and the husband to take Marry to India for operation but they couldn't afford all the high expenses leading Mary’s death. Nevertheless

Now, veteran neurosurgeons under their umbrella body the Neurosurgical Society of Uganda have embarked on a mass drive aimed at raising funds to educate about 30 other neurosurgeons.

They say this is will be through charity walk.

"We want to have people come and sponsor, stand with us. Some people might have contacts that could be useful in this programme that will change what we are seeing today." Dr Kiryabwire said.

Majority parts of the country including Northern Uganda do not have any neurosurgeons something that has increased death over neurosurgical injuries.

According to Shem Opolot the executive director of the Neurosurgical Society of Uganda the programme is to post neurosurgeons across the country such that every human being who needs a neurological surgery can get it wherever they are.

Neurosurgeons are however physicians who specialise in the diagnosis, managment and surgical treatment of neurological diseases and conditions. They deal with rehabilitating disorders of the brain, skull, spinal cord, nerves.

They also deal with congenital anomalies, tumor, vascular disorders, trauma.