A baby who was born with an exposed bowel in Mbale Regional Hospital about a week ago has died.
The infant was supposed to have been transferred to Mulago National Referral hospital for specialized attention.
But its mother, Sumini Naula from Kachonga Village in Butaleja district who had since been abandoned at the hospital could afford the cost.
Sumini Naula from Kachonga Village in Butaleja district delivered the baby with the defects by cesarean on Thursday last week.
Her husband Hussein Mukeru, abandoned her at the health facility on learning she the baby had what seemed unusual but medically known complication.
Dr. Johan Abudallah of regional referral hospital said they tried to offer conformist treatment to prevent the exposed gut from rotting but that unfortunately the baby could not survive.
She explained that because of a shortage in equipment and manpower to handle the required operation, they could not do much.
Sumini Naula, the deceased mother says there was nothing much they could do. She said they did not have money to take the child to Mulago. She however said they knew the baby would not survived so they didn’t bother to source for money.
Doctors described the condition as gastroschisis, a birth defect of the abdominal wall, where the baby’s intestines stick outside of the body, through a hole beside the belly button.
Last year, a similar case was registered in Kibaale district where another mother delivered a baby whose intestines were outside the abdomen. They were referred to Mulago Hospital where the baby’s condition was rectified.
Although the condition is rare, the chance of survival for children born with such defect in Uganda is minimal as opposed to developed countries where children born with gastroschisis have 100% chances of survival.
According to Dr. Julius Watenguli, a clinical officer at Mbale regional referral hospital, although this and several other congenital anomalies may be genetic, infectious or environmental in origin, most often it is difficult to identify the exact causes.
He however adds that many of such anomalies can be prevented through vaccination, adequate intake of folic acid and iodine and adequate antenatal care.
According to the world health organization, Congenital anomalies affect an estimated 1 in 33 infants and result in approximately 3.2 million birth defect-related disabilities every year.
An estimated 270, 000 newborns die during the first 28 days of life every year from congenital anomalies. The most common severe congenital anomalies are heart defects, neural tube defects and down syndrome.
Gastroschisis is a birth defect of the abdominal (belly) wall. The baby’s intestines stick outside of the baby’s body, through a hole beside the belly button.
The hole can be small or large and sometimes other organs, such as the stomach and liver, can also stick outside of the baby’s body.
Gastroschisis according to the The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) occurs early during pregnancy when the muscles that make up the baby’s abdominal wall do not form correctly.
A hole occurs which allows the intestines and other organs to extend outside of the body, usually to the right side of belly button.
Soon after the baby is born, surgery will be needed to place the abdominal organs inside the baby’s body and repair the abdominal wall.
Even after the repair, infants with gastroschisis can have problems with feeding, digestion of food, and absorption of nutrients.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that about 1,871 babies are born each year in the United States with gastroschisis.
The Center For Disease Control is involved in the causes and risk factors for birth defects called the National Birth Defects Prevention Study. This study is looking at many possible risk factors for birth defects, like gastroschisis.
Recently, CDC researchers reported findings about some factors that affect the risk of having a baby with gastroschisis.
The said younger age teenage mothers were more likely to have a baby with gastroschisis than older mothers. Alcohol and tobacco consumption was one of the likely causes.
Women can take steps before and during pregnancy to reduce the risk of having a baby born with birth defects. Such steps include taking a daily multivitamin with folic acid , not smoking, and not drinking alcohol during pregnancy.