by Dr. Gregory Bartha
April 25, 2022
The work goes on at the Cross Clinic serving impoverished people in rural Uganda who have little or no access to quality health care. Two to three thousand patients a month are seen at the clinic. Many of the patients are infants and children ages 6 months to three years. They suffer from malaria, diarrhea with dehydration, wounds, severe anemia, and sickle cell disease. Adult patients have problems with goiter, diabetes, hypertension, eye injuries and inflammation, and respiratory illness. We have opened an operating room, and surgeries are being performed with hernia repair being the most common procedure. We are working to get a better oxygen delivery system and to develop a blood bank.
There are about thirty to forty deliveries each month at the clinic. The women are given only Tylenol for labor pain. They start breastfeeding immediately after delivery and are discharged home in one or two days. Complications are prolonged labor and bleeding. There are many miscarriages.
More complicated and severe emergency cases are referred to the main government hospital in Mbale, about 45 minutes away. We have a very good ambulance to use for transport. Diabetes is an increasing problem. We even saw two patients with juvenile type diabetes ages 15 and 20. They presented with weakness, weight loss, extreme thirst, and shortness of breath. Their blood sugar levels were over 500. We hospitalized them for about a week and adjusted their insulin doses. Finally, we got the blood glucose below 200. This proved to be a challenge because no long-acting insulin was available in our area, only short-acting. Juvenile type diabetics produce no insulin on their own and should be treated with long-acting insulin once or twice a day together with short-acting insulin before meals. These two young people are doing better at this time.
We see a number of children with cancer and heart disease. Here is a picture of six-year-old Nathan. He has a heart valve problem which is causing some obstruction of blood flow from the right side of the heart to the lungs, Surgery to correct this defect can be done in Uganda for about $5000 dollars. We are trying to raise money for this operation.
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