Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Experts at Mulago Specialized Hospital have received dozens of aging patients who are stuck with a daily intake of painkillers due to pending knee replacement surgeries.
Speaking during a news conference on the sidelines of a free surgical camp that ends on Friday, Dr. Alex Bangirana an orthopedic surgeon in Mulago Hospital said they receive between twenty to thirty patients at their weekly clinic noting that the majority of these have long been lined up for surgery but they still can’t access this care because of cost.
Bangirana says, though the hospital does not charge for the service, patients need to buy implants and other sundries which hikes the cost of surgery to 20 million Shillings.
He says an implant needed for knee replacement alone costs about seven million Shillings whereas for an arthroscopic surgery which is usually done on younger patients with broken ligaments, implants alone cost about six million Shillings.
However, at the week-long surgical camp, a total of twenty-three patients received care but doctors say some of the beneficiaries have waited for ten or more years to chance on surgery.
According to Dr John Ssekabira, the Ag. Deputy Director of Mulago Hospital, these surgeries could only be done because of a donation of implants provided by a US-based philanthropy.
Experts at the hospital worry that while access to this relieving surgery is problematic, sufferers are also likely to increase as more Ugandans are now living longer into old age. For instance, the youngest beneficiary from the camp was 53 years old.
Unfortunately, there is nothing much that can be done to save sufferers from this degenerative disease involving wear and tear of joints that comes with aging, as Dr Nobert Orwotho who heads surgery at the hospital explains.
As a solution not to degenerate faster, however, doctors recommend for individuals keep a healthy weight, exercise often, and eat healthily. They say the heavier the person, the faster the tear and wear of the joints.