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The search for a baby just got easier

Hopeful patients get first experience at Uganda’s first public women’s hospital

Kampala, Uganda | FLAVIA NASSAKA | People wander around. Some take selfies and group photos. All rave about the convenience, the décor and point at the nicely positioned potted fresh flowers and photo frames hanging over neatly painted sky blue walls, and the air conditioning – so silent and calming.

Some have stepped in places like only this during travel abroad. Others are Johnny- Just- come and have not seen sensor activated doors, modern lighting, or the flat screen televisions hanging from different corners of the reception area.These have until recently been a preserve of high end hotels. But this is a hospital; the new MulagoSpecialised women and Neonatal Hospital and all the emotion poured on Sept.17; the days it opened to the public.

“I’m excited, I am too excited,” says PhionahNakyeyune.

David Nuwamanya, the Principal Hospital Administrator, says the design of the new hospital was based on the idea that no one likes to be in hospital but when they need to it should be a good experience.

This focus on patient’s welfare shines through every ward and hospital space.

Extensive ventilation fans are designed to prevent the spread of disease and odors. A shinny terrazzo flooring and air conditioning will keep the building at a comfortable temperature at all times.

The most magnificent is 8th floor where the presidential suite is housed. Accessorised with a terrace at the top, which gives one a magnificent view of Kampala city; the patient here enjoys a bedroom, a spacious washroom and a sitting area fitted with a flat screen TV, in addition to access to the internet.

But away from the glitz, the hospital is also offering women like Nakyeyune a level of maternal care that they only dreamt about previously.

Nakyeyune has for five years been struggling to have a child and we first met in March at a fertility symposium in Kampala. Now she has her hopes pinned on the new hospital with its hitech, highly qualified easily accessible specialists, and promise of affordable care. She was one of 20 women who sought and received medical attention on the first day of the hospital. Half of the women sought assisted reproductive healthcare.

 “My doctor proposed an IVF and the procedure costs a damn Shs30 million,” she said, “Who affords that?

“I feel a sense of belonging here,” she says.

Set up to offer specialised care to women like Nakyeyune, the new facility took $25.1 million (Approx. Shs96 billion) and three years of construction.

The facility will offer assisted reproductive healthcare, including In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) which involves extracting a woman’s egg and a man’s sperm sample and manually combining them in a laboratory dish before transferring them to the uterus. It will also offerurogynaecology, which involves pelvis reconstruction, high risk antenatal care and neonatal services, care for women cancers, laboratory services, and benign gynecology among others.

Health Minister Jane Ruth Aceng says completion of the project signals a return of top notch medical care in the country. She adds that the hospital is the biggest and only one on the continent now to offer exclusively women services.

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