MULAGO LAUNCHES INTERVENTIONAL RADIOLOGY SERVICES, USES IMAGING GUIDANCE TO PERFORM MINIMALLY INVASIVE PROCEDURES

MULAGO LAUNCHES INTERVENTIONAL RADIOLOGY SERVICES, USES IMAGING GUIDANCE TO PERFORM MINIMALLY INVASIVE PROCEDURES

By Goodluck Musinguzi

Mulago National Referral hospital has acquired Interventional radiology treatment which is a life saving procedure to those who need it. Uganda has one of the worst records of both post-partum haemorrhage and road-traffic related morbidity in Africa.
These are areas where good clinical imaging and Interventional Radiology  services can make the difference between life and death. Kampala has local experts who are being trained to be among the the country’s first cohort of interventional radiologists, who can handle a proper supply chain and procurement mechanism for IR consumables, which makes this task easy for the Ugandan healthcare professionals to achieve.
Dr Rosemary Byanyima the Ag. Executive Director, Mulago National Referral Hospital says this service will be up scaled even more when other specialists still training join the team of three that the hospital currently has. She says previously people needing this kind of service have had to be referred abroad for treatment.
Byanyima, said, “The hospital having undergone re-modelling and re-equipping, its time to start doing more complex procedures and the hospital is ready to even advance the technology that we use.”

The utilization of interventional radiology not only demonstrates Uganda’s commitment to enhancing healthcare but also underscores the potential for medical innovation to make a profound impact on people’s lives.

Uganda becomes the sixth country on the African continent to deploy such technology in public facilities.

It involves treating a wide range of conditions in the body by inserting various small tools, such as catheters or wires from outside the body while using X-ray and imaging techniques such as CT and ultrasound to guide.
Interventional radiology is a medical sub-specialty of radiology that utilises minimally invasive image guided procedures to diagnose and treat diseases including cancer,

Dr Eva Nabawanuka says , with  interventional radiology at the hospital, no surgeries will be necessary as the newly launched treatment approach helps us access the organs using special needles.

While typically radiology is used as a diagnosis tool to test patients and refer them for necessary treatment, interventional radiology involves treating a wide range of conditions in the body by inserting various small tools, such as catheters or wires from outside the body while using X-ray and imaging techniques such as CT and ultrasound to guide.

Over 20 patients will be attended to every day for for the rest of this week as the hospital offers subsidized services to those with cancer of the intestines in addition to those with kidney problems requiring draining urine in a procedure technically referred to as nephrostomy.

Interventional radiology is a medical sub-specialty of radiology that only uses imaging guidance to perform minimally invasive procedures. This means that doctors can access and treat problems inside the body without having to make large incisions. This can lead to shorter recovery times, less pain, and fewer complications than traditigery.

Dr. Eva Nabawanuka, the lead radiologist, emphasised that this innovative approach will address the longstanding issue of Ugandans seeking treatment abroad due to lack of options locally.

By the time we reached Mulago National Referral Hospital, medical experts specializing in the field of radiology were busy with the day, for the due operation on one of the patients.

Nabawanuka explained, “Basically, what we do with interventional radiology is we use the normal imaging that we have to guide our procedures. So, we are able to see the inside and we do something about it.”

This development offers newfound hope for individuals grappling with ailments such as cancer and accidents resulting in bleeding veins.

“We can go and unblock vessels in the brain, using a small hole going through a vessel, so with a small pin hall, you’re able to go to any body part you want to treat,” Dr Nabawanuka said.

By expanding specialized services, Mulago National Referral Hospital is set to bridge the treatment gap and save countless lives that might have otherwise been lost due to lack of access to advanced medical interventions.

Uganda has around 50 radiologists, which is roughly one radiologist for every million people. This scarcity of specialists is a common problem for most African countries. For context, according to the Royal College of Radiology, the average ratio in the UK is 48 radiologists per million people, a number considered small in comparison to EU standards. At the same time, Uganda has one of the worst records of both post-partum haemorrhage and road-traffic related morbidity in Africa. These are areas where good clinical imaging and IR services can make the difference between life and death.

UgandaDr Rosemary Byanyima is one of the most senior radiologists in Kampala, and was one of the first local radiologists to understand this problem and push for change. Thanks to Dr Byanyima and her team, we were able to organise the first assessment visit to understand how things work in the Mulago National Referral Hospital (MNRH). This is the largest public hospital in the country, with 1,500 beds.

Many lives in Uganda will be saved and improved after Interventional Radiology service was established. Interventional radiology and clinical imaging should not be considered luxury services any more. We would never consider having hospitals without CT and MRI scanners in the UK, and of course we would not accept a tertiary medical centre with no acute IR service provision. We have come a long way in Europe in terms of that, but in Africa there are still huge parts of the continent without appropriate image-guided clinical services. Uganda is fortunate to be among 6 countries with these services.

 

 

About Goodluck Musinguzi

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