UGANDA – St Mary’s Hospital Lacor in Gulu City has successfully operated on and treated thirty children with Anorectal malformation, a birth defect where a child presents without an anus or narrow anal opening.

Anorectal malformation occurs in an estimated 1 in 4,000 newborns and can range from mild to complex. Such children experience chronic constipation or difficulty in passing stool among others. Babies born with such conditions are isolated, stigmatized, and believed that they will never heal. 

However, St Mary`s Hospital Lacor in Gulu City held a five days pediatric surgical camp with support from Mabarara University of Science and Technology (MUST) that ran from March 5th to 10th, 2023.

The camp was bankrolled by Bethany Kids, a compassionate Christian mission transforming the lives of African children with surgical conditions and disabilities through pediatric surgery, rehabilitation, public education, spiritual ministry, and training health professionals.

Alfred Oryem, a communication officer at St Mary`s Hospital Lacor said that the beneficiaries were very vulnerable and had been on the hospital’s waiting list.

The pediatric surgical camp is an initiative of the late Dr. Martin Situma who surveyed the Northern and Eastern Regions and made recommendations for its urgent need.

Since its inception about three years ago, more than 100 children with similar conditions have been operated on and many others screened.

Dr. Charles Odongo, one of the team members, says that the long-term plan is to find pediatric surgeons who will be based in St Mary`s Hospital Lacor to continue doing the same.

“The first camp was sponsored by Love Without Boundaries and the last two camps are basically Bethany Kids,” says Dr. Charles Odongo.

“The long-term plan is to find pediatric surgeons who will be based here to continue doing this.”

The camp is also geared towards training pediatric surgeons as well as medical officers and interns from within and other learning institutions in the country.

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