Mulago hospital's anesthesia department has acquired a new capnography device, which promises to enhance its medical services.
Anesthesia is a critical medical practice where healthcare professionals induce temporary unconsciousness in patients to perform medical procedures without causing pain or discomfort.
Capnography is a vital medical monitoring technique that measures the concentration of carbon dioxide in a patient's breath. It is employed in healthcare facilities during anesthesia to assess the patient's respiratory status. Dr Elizabeth Namugaya Igaga, the treasurer of the Association of Anesthesiologists of Uganda, emphasized that they have faced challenges in positioning tubes for monitoring patients' breath during surgery.
Namugaya noted that, especially in the case of infants, due to their size, tubes can sometimes shift and end up in the wrong position. The introduction of the Smile Train Life Box capnograph device will revolutionize patient monitoring. It ensures that every breath a patient takes is closely monitored to confirm that the tube is correctly positioned. The capnograph machine also provides real-time data on the patient's oxygen and carbon dioxide levels during surgery.
"In simple layman's language, this device makes sure that your anesthesia provider is providing the gas that you need to breathe in and out through the right channels through the windpipe and not any other pathway of the body," said Namugaya.
Dr Mary Theresa Nabukenya, president of the Association of Anesthesiologists of Uganda, highlighted the versatility of the device. It can be used by patients even after surgery to monitor their respiratory systems, especially in hospitals without intensive care units.
Currently, they are actively engaged in training healthcare providers at Mulago hospital and other regional referral hospitals while advocating for the widespread adoption of these devices across the country.
Dr John Mark Kasumba, a senior consultant anesthesiologist and the assistant clinical head of the anesthesia department at Mulago hospital, emphasized that this device will enhance safety for both patients and healthcare providers. It aims to prevent patient fatalities or brain damage during surgery, providing reassurance to physicians and non-physician anesthetists across regional referral hospitals, district hospitals, and health center IVs.
Dr John Ssekabira, a senior consultant peadiatric surgeon at Mulago hospital, clarified that the introduction of this new device doesn't imply that carbon dioxide monitoring was absent before. Rather, the existing machines were expensive, and maintenance costs were prohibitive for the country to manage.
The shortage of anesthetists in Uganda has led to challenges in healthcare delivery. Many health centers IV still refer pregnant mothers for cesarean sections to district hospitals due to this shortage. According to the Association of Anesthesiologists of Uganda, approximately 70 per cent of anesthesia provider positions in the country remain vacant.