NTUNGAMO: Baby born with parts of skull and brains missing

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Child born with anencephaly in Ntungamo district.

By Leonard Kamugisha Akida, Isaac Tayebwa and Gilbert Akampa,

NTUNGAMO: Woman gives birth to terminally ill baby

When Edinah Musiimenta had labour pains, she was rushed to Ntungamo Health Centre IV by her relatives. Little did she know that she would have fatal birth defect.

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At a second pregnancy, Musiimenta received labour complications and health workers at Ntungamo HC IV referred her to Itojo hospital in Ntungamo for better services. She had no other option, but to accept the referral because she wanted to save her life and that of her unborn baby.

A health worker who talked to Parrots UG on conditions of anonymity said when conditiond worsened, they requested management at Itojo hospital to send an emergence ambulance and a doctor and nosooner had they arrived at hospital than Musiimenta started pushing out her baby.
She had a fatal birth and was devasted to learn that her baby had some parts of the skull and brains missing. The baby died onspot.

This was the first of its kind at the hospital and to Musiimenta’s relatives since during her first pregnancy, she gave a successful labour to a health baby.

Dr. Mike Kyewalyanga, a paediatrician at Holy Innocents Children’s hospital termed the condition as anencephaly, a fatal birth defect that causes a baby to be born missing parts of the skull and the brain.

According to Dr. Kyewalyanga, the defect occurs in the formation of a baby’s neural tube during development. He says that a baby with this defect is born with an underdeveloped brain and an incomplete skull.

He added that a baby born with anencephaly might be stillborn or survive only a few hours to a few days after birth.

Child born with parts of skull and brains missing in Ntungamo

Neural tube defects (NTDs) are one of the most common congenital malformations affecting births world wide. The estimated prevalence in Africa is 12 per 10,000 live births (95% confidence interval (CI) 5-75) but data are limited.

Health experts urge that Uganda lacks recent accurate data on the prevelence of birth defects and birth defects registry.

In 2019, a hospital-based surveillance program was established at four hospitals in Kampala, Uganda to provide estimates of the baseline prevalence of selected birth defects and assess potential associations with HIV status and ART use. The hospitals included Mulago, Lubaga, Kibuli, Mengo and St. Francis Nsambya hospital.

According to the data collected from hospital records, maternal interviews, photographs, and narrative descriptions of birth defects (BD), anencephaly (n=16) prevalence was 2.3 (1.3-3.7).

The study further indicated that anencephaly was more common among females compared to males with site as an effect modifier [AOR of 5.9 (95%CI:1.9-17.9), p=0.002].

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