Kampala-Uganda-Pre eclampsia cases are on the rise, doctors at Mulago National Referral Hospital have warned. Pre eclampsia is a pregnancy complication characterised by high blood pressure and damage of other body organs most often the liver and kidneys.
It usually starts after 20th week of pregnancy in women. Statistics from Mulago Hospital show that the number of pre eclampsia cases is steadily increasing. In 2017, Mulago Hospital registered 903 pre eclampsia cases compared to 663 in 2016.
The Head Obstetrics and Gynecology Mulago Hospital and Makerere University, Dr. Annette Nakimuli, says they have been receiving several referrals from other health facilities. Dr. Nakimuli says the condition of so many mothers tend to worsen because many health workers don’t know how to handle pre eclampsia cases.
The Uganda Demographics and Health Survey shows that 343 women out of 100,000 die during child labor. Dr. Evelyn Nabunya, the Clinical Head, Directorate of Obstetrics and Gynecology Mulago Hospital, says pre eclampsia is the leading cause of maternal mortality at the hospital. Data from Mulago hospital shows that pre eclampsia is responsible for 23.9 percent of the deaths at the hospital.
Pre eclampsia is the third leading cause of death among women after bleeding and sepsis in Uganda. Dr. Nabunya attributes the high deaths to delayed referral of the affected mothers. The cause of pre eclampsia is still unknown. However, it can be detected by the presence of protein in a pregnant woman’s urine and abnormal development of the baby’s placenta. First time mothers, very old or young, obese, diabetic and women with chronic hypertension are at high risk of pre eclampsia.
Michael Bukenya, the Chairperson Parliamentary Health Committee, says there is need for the Ministry of Health to do more by availing the necessary drugs and skilled personnel in all health centers to avoid referrals of pre eclampsia cases.
Pre eclampsia can lead to death of the mother or child or both in severe conditions. For those that survive, it can lead to stroke, kidney failure, premature births and hypertension.