The Nutrition Ward was opened in 1972 and is the only nutrition unit in the whole region (which is made up of eight districts). Since there are only about four or five nutrition units in the whole of Uganda, the work that is done by this ward at Kitovu is invaluable.
The Nutrition Ward rehabilitates the most vulnerable children who are severely malnourished. There are two types of malnutrition which are both commonly seen at Kitovu Hospital, Marasmus and Kwashiorkor. Marasmus is a condition primarily caused by a deficiency in calories and energy, whereas Kwashiorkor indicates an associated protein deficiency.
40% of the children seen on the Nutrition Ward are HIV infected and have opportunistic infections such as diarrhoeal diseases and tuberculosis. The main reasons that these children suffer from malnutrition is a lack of nutritional knowledge/education and poverty. The most commonly affected age group is 6 months to five years, although in the past two years there has been a marked increase in the number of patients being admitted over the age of five.
On average there are up to 16 patients admitted at any one time, although this is dependent on which season it is. Each child stays on average between 10-14 days (or longer if necessary) and is rehabilitated through an intensive feeding programme, being fed every three hours. During their time on the ward any infections are treated by the Paediatrician.
Nutritional education is very important to provide knowledge and skills to the mothers (or relatives) in order to prevent a recurrence of malnutrition in the patient. The families are instructed on the correct diet using food that is readily and cheaply available to buy or grow. Health education about family planning and child spacing is also very important in preventing childhood malnutrition in the future, and is provided at the Nutrition Ward. In addition, all caretakers and relatives are given essential information on HIV and AIDS.
The Nutrition Ward is extremely grateful for all the support and funding from numerous donors over the last 40 years. We treat some of the poorest and most vulnerable children in Masaka on our unit, and it is thanks to YOUR support that we are able to help THEM.
If anyone else would like to help support this vital service, then please do get in touch with us by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org
THANK YOU FROM THE KITOVU NUTRITION UNIT!
Community Based Health Care (CBHC)
As the majority of the diseases presented at the hospital are preventable (because they are related to poverty, lack of basic health care, lack of safe water and failure to immunise), Kitovu launched an outreach program to provide preventative and promotive health care services to communities in the areas of Masaka district.
The CBHC staff regularly make outreach visits to the rural communities to provide disease prevention and health education, immunisation, nutrition and antenatal care services. Severely malnourished children are admitted to the Nutrition Ward at the hospital and rehabilitated through proper feeding and nutritional education of their care takers. It also provides Early Infant HIV Exposed Infant services.
Since the long and very generous funding from SCIAF faded out, the program is at stake. Whilst the infrastructure still exists, most of the activities had to stop due to a lack of money. At the moment we are searching for funding to allow us to continue the long and successful work of the CBHC program.