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Anesthesiologists to train health workers in critical care services

Dr Joseph Kiwanuka addressing the media at Fort portal regional referral boardroom. URN photo

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Uganda Anesthesiologists Association is to train health workers in critical care services.

The association will train health workers in regional referral hospitals that include Lira, Jinja and Fort Portal.

According to Dr Joseph Kiwanuka, the President of the Uganda Anesthesiologists Association, the specialists will offer basic training every week. He says that the training program will enable health workers to provide vital care to patients especially in Intensive Care Units-ICUs and High Dependency Units-HDUs.

Speaking during a visit at Fort Portal Regional Referral Hospital, Kiwanuka said that some hospitals rely on part-time visiting anesthesiologists and medical interns to support the operations of ICUs, while patients that require vital care are referred to ICUs in Kampala.

In an ICU, anesthesiologists offer medical assessment and diagnosis for patients. They provide airway management, cardiac and pulmonary resuscitation, advanced life support and pain control.

Critical care nurses on the other hand, run the day to day functioning of the unit. They coordinate care for the patient and often spend the most amount of time with the patient.

They are expected to monitor the patient and all the equipment like ventilators that they might be attached to, to make sure the patients are stable.

Kiwanuka also said they are in the initial stages of putting in place a call centre to provide lifesaving initiatives to support and supervise the trained teams.

Dr Alex Adaku, the Director of Fort Portal Regional Referral Hospital says that the hospital has offered 15 of their staff members to undergo the training. Adaku said that the lack of trained health workers dealing in critical care services is hampering the treatment of COVID-19 patients in the ICU.

He said that despite having beds, it would be hard to use the ICU because they do not have the staff and critical care nurses to look after the patients.

In January, the Ministry of Health said that it is currently training nurses to man the ICUs.

According to the ministry, 100 nurses are being trained at Mbarara University of Science and Technology in critical care services.

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