Dr. Edward Kironde a spine surgeon at Mulago National Referral Hospital has revealed that the hospital currently carries out about three surgeries a day which is due to numerous patients including children they receive from across the country.
Some of these are due to road crashes while others are as a result of minor accidents like falling.
Dr. Kironde who cautioned Ugandans about maintaining speed limits and wearing helmets while using roads said the hospital will continue receiving an escalating number of casualties unless people use them.
Maintaining the two measures, the Mulago surgeon said will help to reduce spinal fractures that are on the rise lately.
DaParrot held an exclusive interview with Dr. Kironde whom we met shortly after carrying out lumbar Spine surgery.
He warned that traumatic Spinal code injuries are currently common in Uganda and he projects that the incidences have spiked from the 13% in the last study.
Whereas Spinal fractures may also be caused by bone insufficiency, fractures of the thoracic and lumbar are mostly attributed to car or motorcycle collision, fall from a significant height, sports accidents, and violent acts such as gunshot wounds and according to Dr. Kironde road accidents are the lead causes in Uganda.
“We collaborate with surgeons from elsewhere in the world so that we have similar knowledge and understanding on how to treat Spinal conditions and also to have comparative outcomes like those in other parts of the world,” Kironde highlighted.
As per scientific findings and research, most Spinal fractures occur in the thoracic (mid-back) and lumbar Spine (lower back) or the connection of the two (thoracolumbar junction), and in all these, treatment depends on the severity of the fracture and whether the patient has other associated injuries
Spinal fractures can vary widely as some are very serious injuries that result from high-energy trauma and do require emergency treatment. Other fractures can be a result of a lower impact event such as a minor fall for example in an older person.
Since 2009, Mulago Hospital has embraced the journey of Spinal surgeries and for a period of 14 years now, more specialists continue to carry out operations at the facility every day.
When asked about the outcomes, Kironde noted that they are the same as anywhere else where the earlier a patient presents himself at the hospital the better the outcome.
“The milder the injury is on the Spine the better the outcome” he articulated.
In low and middle-income countries, the burden of traumatic spinal code injury is largely unknown, In sub-Saharan Africa, extrapolated regional figures for incidence range from 21-29 million. In Uganda, the prevalence is at 8.8%.
I asked Dr. Kironde whether poor quality mattresses can cause Spine injuries, and he replied that this doesn’t directly cause them but in the long run, the action can cause back pains to victims.
According to the 2022 Police Annual Report, there was a 35% increase in common traffic offenses registered by the Directorate of Traffic and Road Safety countrywide from 336,722 cases in 2021 to 456,993 cases in 2022.
As a result, the number of road traffic crashes increased by 16.9% from 17,443 in 2021 to 20,394 in 2022 where 3,901 crashes were fatal, 10,776 were serious and 5,717 were minor by nature.