The Mulago Orthopedic Spine Project by the Rotary Club of Kampala Metropolitan and partners is a phased project birthed in the 2018. The project located at Mulago National Referral Hospital under the Orthopedic Department. The project has three components including the Rehabilitation of the Spine Ward (completed); Equipping the Orthopedic Spine theatre and capacity building of the staff. In the Rotary year 2017/2018 several fundraising initiatives were carried out by the members of the Rotary club of Kampala Metropolitan and in 2018/2019 the funds were used to complete the first phase of this project i.e. refurbishing the 30 bed Spinal ward which is now operational and accommodating patients with traumatic spine injuries, infection, tumors and similar degenerative conditions. Last year(2019-2020), this Spine Ward admitted a total of over 451 patients for various conditions ranging from traumatic causes, degenerative diseases to cancers or malignancies.
This year, the Rotary Club of Kampala Metropolitan and partners seek to implement the second and third phase of the project i.e. Equipping the Orthopedic Spine Theatre, Spine ward and training staff. This one bed Spine Theatre shared with the Endocrine surgical team is the only theatre in our country Uganda dedicated to spine operations. Last year alone, 582 operations were successfully done.. More than a total of 500 patients are seen weekly in the clinics. All three units continue to grapple with challenges and limitations of; an inadequate number of surgeons and nurses, lack of equipment (old equipment donated in 1990s still in use), inadequate theatre space and utilities, lack of implants hence requiring patients to buy in order to get the operations done, lack of opportunity to do cutting edge research etc.
Despite all the above limitations, the Department of Orthopedics continues to deliver services provided by the few orthopedic surgeons employed by Ministry of Health and Ministry of Education through MUK-College of Health Sciences with help of the group of resident students undergoing surgical training.
There is therefore an undeniable need to Equipping the Orthopedic Spine Theatre for patients to access affordable timely and quality services. Needless to say, both medical staff and patients will enjoy the service delivery process and the department will greatly improve for the better. This will, in the long run, make Uganda a center of excellence in specialized Orthopedic service and as the DALYs is reduced, the population will become more productive and contribute to national economic growth.