The increasing number of children born with hydrocephalus has raised concern among medical experts as well as parents from various parts of the country.
Hydrocephalus is a condition leading to the swelling of the head due to accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) within the brain.
Children born with this condition require extra care and attention compared to other children.
According to Dr Agatha Namutosi, a medical expert in handling people with this condition, the problem is on an increase in the country because of many factors including ignorance of some parents.
“All parents should start taking folic acid a month before pregnancy at the same time they should go for Antenatal in recognized health facilities for diagnosis of the syndrome in case it’s there,” she said.
Ruth Nalugya, who heads the Spina-bifida and Hydrocephalus Association Uganda, a body that brings together parents of children suffering from both syndromes, says that the number of new born babies with this syndrome is increasing annually.
“Currently we have over 7000 mothers with hydrocephalus babies in the central region of Uganda; the prevalence is very high because every month we register over 20 new mothers,” she said.
Many of these, she says, tend to resort to begging on the streets.
Naluggya however, called on parents who have turned their children suffering from Hydrocephalus into a source of income to stop it immediately.
“We have promised to support a number parents soliciting for finances to have surgeries done on their children but many of these have refused to withdraw from streets,” she said.
Mrs Harriet Luwedde, another of 9-year-old hydrocephalus child called upon the general public to support them and their children instead discriminating them.
“These are like other kids but after giving birth to such one, most of our husbands run away from home, our in-laws refer to us as curses and some members of the community don’t want our children to interact with them,” Luwedde added
Statistics from National Institute of Health, as well as Cure Hospital show that 360 out of 5400 children born in Uganda are born or acquire hydrocephalus.
At Cure Hospital, the only facility handling operations in Uganda says at least 110 surgeries are carried out per month making it 1300 cases handled annually.