At around 3pm, Francis Kasaijja 45, walked out of the CT scan room in less than an hour having walked in for an invasive image-guided procedure.
Kasijja, a patient from Ntoroko had been diagnosed with a liver abscess, a condition that causes a mass filled with pus inside the liver.
The injury was attained during a scuffle with one of his cattle when he fell and hurt his liver before being rushed to Buhinga Hospital.
“I spent four nights at Buhinga before l was transferred to Mulago National Referral Hospital for this procedure with the assistance of
my sisters. At first, l received some medication as preparation before this procedure and now aside from the small pain, l feel okay and my body is steadily recuperating,” Kasaijja said.
Dr Tumusiime Max, a consultant in the Radiology department, described that normally, a patient is introduced to antibiotics to clear the bloodstream but also ensure that the pus was in one place so that when the surrounding tissue is punctured it is not pushed to the blood.
He adds however that the patient must remain on his antibiotics even after the procedure as they still remain at a higher risk of contraction.
Previously, Kasaija and the majority in such a similar or even more complex condition would have just gone for an ultrasound or CT scan to identify the problem and await theatre for open surgery.
With advanced interventional radiology, however, the hospital is now able to use the same imaging to do the procedure without any surgery and within minutes.
Speaking during a press conference at Mulago, Dr. Eva Nabawanuka, Lead Radiologists revealed that since last week the national referral the hospital has been able to scale up to a much better way of treating patients using normal imaging like the CT scan.
Nabawanuka noted that besides penetrating even the most complex parts of the body, the beauty of advanced radiology was that the patient did not have to endure the trauma in the theatre or even the costs at that.
“My patient is well, they’re not sleeping, not sedated, they’re not going to the theatre, they’re walking in, l will do this procedure in a very short time and they will walk out today,” the lead Radiologists said.
The procedure is done through a very small prick using a needle and other materials that help drain waste from the body without having to cut the patient.
Because of the interventional Mulago is now able to manage patients who have got accidents, cancer, and with different challenges using minimal therapies and within a small duration of stay in the hospital.
Since this week, at least 23 patients have been received daily in the clinic, and a number of underwent procedures under the sub-specialty of this radiology interventional radiology.
Rosemary Byanyima who dubs as the acting executive director, also noted that it was really exciting that having gone through different remodeling and reequipping they now had the capacity to upscale but also perform more complex interventional procedures
Byanyima added that this, therefore, meant an upscale even in other regional referral hospitals but also looking forward to a fully flagged
suite to perform these super-specialized services.
The services are still offered using among others ultrasound, fluoroscope, and CT scan.
In Africa, only five countries including Tanzania, Ethiopia, Egypt, South Africa, and Algeria can offer but also train people to do the procedure.
Uganda will thus be assisted by its partners from within and outside the region to achieve its objective.
Initially, the hospital is training three doctors due to the limited but also expensive resources such as the machines and consumables and thus can’t have a big number.
The number will however improve with time according to Dr. Nabawanuka who said that they were still working on building capacity.