Is the medicine your taking prescribed


Ms Kyaligonza Betty, the receptionist at Allan Galpin health Centre, says that nearly half of the student body has no record of seeking medical care from the health centre. Following his interesting information, The Standard carried out a survey in the UCU community, asking people whether they would visit Allan Galpin or buy paracetamol to treat a headache.

Ninety percent of the respondents said they would go buy painkillers. When it was pointed out to them that the services of Allan Galpin are free, 60 percent still said they would only go to the clinic if the painkillers did not work, after prolonged use.

Dr Geoffrey Rwabaingi Mulindwa, the director of medical services at UCU, says that self-medication is when one feels unwell, skips the process of seeking medical help from a qualified medical professional, hazards a guess at the problem and administers medication accessed over the counter.

“A person is supposed to get a prescription from a technician and medicine will be dispensed accordingly,” Mulindwa said.

Causes of self-medication

“When you go to Allan Galpin, you queue to see the doctor and then queue again to get your prescription.

In the process you are exposed to more diseases than you went to the clinic with,” one of the respondents said. Such a person, a member of the ‘microwave generation’, only focuses on the time spent to access medical care, ignoring the benefits.

On 24 July 2016, WBS Television released a report showing that patients were opting for self-medication due to the high consultation fees charged in hospitals and health centers. These can be as high as Shs50,000 in private health centers.

Legal framework

The ease with which all types of medicine are accessed in drug shops also fuels the habit. Imelda Tumuhaise a retired nurse says that a drug shop should be run by a qualified nurse, midwife, medical assistant or a doctor before it is issued with a practicing license.

However, the custom is that these qualified personnel only sign as the custodians for the licence, and hand over the business to anyone else to run. This leaves many unqualified people dispensing drugs to patients.

Tumuhaise said that the national district drug inspector inspects the drug shops before they commence business, and every once a year afterwards, exacerbating the problem. The drugs need to be kept under specific temperatures and conditions, is inspection once a year enough to ensure compliance.

Attitude issues

Tumuhaise further said that individuals go to the drug shop with a decision on the medicine they want. “Such people do not follow medical personnel’s advice. They often think that because of former successful usage., they qualify for the same treatment. They even go ahead to prescribe the same to others with similar symptoms,” she said.

Dr Mulindwa said that people have a deceptive tradition of ‘the end justifies the means’, forgetting that they are now treating symptoms and not the cause of the disease. So, next time you feel tempted to reach for the non-prescribed pain killers, consider paying a visit to the health centre for professional advice


 Galpin gets orthopedic bed


The Allan Galpin Health Centre (AGHC) received an orthopedic bed donation from the family of the late Canon Ephraim Musiime during a thanks giving ceremony held on May 15 at Nkoyoyo Hall.

Musiime was diagnosed with prostate cancer in August 2010 and later succumbed to it on January 7.

Jennifer Musiime, the widow, thanked the UCU community and Allan Galpin Health Centre staff for their support during and after her husband’s illness.

“I thank you all for standing by my family during the trying times. I urge you to look after yourselves and cancer patients,” she said.

The Vice Chancellor, Dr. John Senyonyi, also encouraged the congregation to conduct regular cancer tests.

“The battle against cancer is a reality and I urge you all to go for regular testing,” he said.

Dr Senyonyi also commended the Musiime family for their contribution towards the UCU community.

An orthopedic bed/mattress is designed to support the joints, back and overall body. The bed is designed to combat the problems one might experience with a bad back or joints by providing a firm mattress which offers targeted, tailored support.

It provides support without pressure points that will cause blood clots and bed sores. They are used in hospitals and nursing homes by trained staff.

The bed also gives the spine the perfect alignment and supports the back in the correct position giving it a chance to repair.

The Director of AGHC, Dr Joseph Mulindwa, welcomed the donation as a major development in the health facility.

“It is a commendable gesture that is going to help many others. This facility did not have a functional electronic bed. It is going to help those with fractured bones, broken spine and chronic back pain,” he said.

The late Musiime was a lecturer in the Bishop Tucker School of Divinity and Theology.

UCU in cancer screening


This Easter semester, the Health Awareness Week (HAW) was spearheaded by Save the Mothers Department under the theme “Safe Motherhood and You.”

It involved several activities such as counselling, sensitization, blood donation, community service and most outstandingly, cancer screening.

Cancer is a common, non-communicable disease that manifests in a number of ways. It affects all age groups, and both genders. Some of the types of cancer include lung, thyroid, kidney, prostate, cervical and breast cancer, among others.

During the week, there was screening at the Alan Galpin Centre for three types of cancer, that is, prostate, cervical and breast cancer.

A total of 116 women were screened for breast and cervical cancer and 23 men for prostate. Four women were referred for further investigation.

Dr. Geoffrey Rwabaingi Mulindwa, the director of Medical Services at the Alan Galpin Centre, said that those with positive test results were then recommended for further tests and diagnosis to rule out or confirm the presence of cancer. “We do not want people to be told that they have cancer at advanced stages,” he said.

Mulindwa added that the increased prevalence of cancer is as a result of change in lifestyle, low or poor awareness and lack of early screening opportunities. Unlike staff, sensitization among the student community is still a challenge because of the lack of a general communication platform.

Cancer just like any other disease condition can be cured and controlled if detected at an early stage. Radiotherapy and other control measures can be adapted to help curb the spread of cancer all over the body.

Dr Mulindwa encouraged people to have healthy sexual relations and exercise regularly, at least 3o minutes daily. Quoting Daniel 1: 12-16, he advised the community to eat healthy and include fruits and vegetables in their diet.”

Immunization of young girls against the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) can also be done to prevent the contraction of cervical cancer. When this is done, the prevalence of the condition can be controlled.

Dr. Mulindwa advised the community always to seek medical advice about body changes or conditions like the constant headaches because in most cases they are symptoms of a disease.

Ear syringing: dealing with blockage of ears



Ear syringing is the act of removing earwax, dead skin or a foreign body by way of gentle flushing with warm water via a narrow nozzle attached to a custom-designed syringing device.

“Ear wax is normal and is produced to form a protective coating over the skin in the ear canal. Ears are normally self-cleaning. The movement of one’s jaws whilst eating and talking helps to move the wax along the canal where it will usually fall out naturally without one noticing,” Christine Waako, a Clinician at Allan Galpin Health Centre told The Standard .

The amount of ear wax produced varies from person to person.

However, some people produce excessive amounts which can lead to a blockage in the ear canal. One is likely to develop a blockage of wax in the canal if they:

  • Use cotton ear buds to clean the ear as this pushes the wax deeper into the canal
  • Wear a hearing aid, ear plugs or use in-ear speakers for i-pods or similar gadgets, as these can all interfere with the natural process of wax expulsion
  • Have abnormally narrow ear canals
  • Have a particularly hairy ear canal
  • Are elderly because the ear wax you produce is drier and harder
  • Have a dry skin problem such as eczema or psoriasis.

Treatment of ear blockage may not require visiting a health centre. Here is a simple step-by-step process to manage one in case it arises:

Use olive oil drops two or three times daily for about 14 days as follows:

  • Lie on your side with the affected ear uppermost
  • Pull the outer ear gently backwards and upwards to straighten the ear canal
  • Put 2-3 drops of olive oil into the affected ear(s) and gently massage just in front of the ear
  • Stay laying on your side to allow the wax to soak in for around ten minutes
  • Afterwards, wipe away any excess oil but do not plug your ear with cotton wool as this simply absorbs the oil.

Initially your hearing problem may worsen after the above process. This is why one is advised to concentrate on treating one ear at a time.

In most cases, after 14 days, the wax will have softened sufficiently to encourage the wax to come out without further intervention.

However, if your hearing is still impaired, please see a medical practitioner for further advice and management.

Alternatively, there are now over-the-counter kits available from pharmacies. These contain a wax softener, which you use for 3-4 days, and a small bulb syringe to enable you to remove the wax from your ear canals yourself.

Usually ear syringing is considered after the above recommendations have proved to be unsuccessful.

Ear wax needs to be softened as above for 3-5 days before attempting to syringe.

Although the risks are low and our nurses are specially trained to perform this procedure, there is still a small chance (thought to be around 1 in 1000) of complications occurring such as a perforated ear drum, middle ear infection, external canal infection or causing ringing in the ear (tinnitus).

If you experience any pain, discharge or bleeding from the ear, sudden deafness or buzzing, foreign bodies in the ear or dizziness, seek medical advice from a health practitioner.

What you should know about cardiac arrest



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Bolton Wanderers’ Fabrice Muamba being carried off the pitch during a football match against Tottenham after he suffered a cardiac arrest.

Every October 16 is marked as the World Heart Day. So this brings us to the attention of the devastation the heart diseases have on our health.

The country has watched in shock of recent as ministers and one General died and the cause of death for all the three was said to be cardiovascular in nature.

With great concern, it has been confirmed that world over, heart problems are now the leading cause of both ill-health and death globally, overtaking the communicable diseases.

The increase in heartrelated morbidity and mortality has not only increased in the west but even the southern hemisphere including our sub-Saharan Africa.

This does not only lead to high numbers of patients who die from cardiovascular conditions but also a dilemma in the health care in that while we are still prioritizing our scarce resources on the infectious (diseases of the poor) a large chunk is being spent on CVDs.

Sudden cardiac death (SCD) is an unexpected death caused by loss of heart function.

Is sudden cardiac arrest different from a heart attack? 

Sudden cardiac arrest is not a heart attack (myocardial infarction) but can occur during a heart attack.

A heart attack occurs when there is a blockage in one or more of the arteries to the heart, preventing the heart from receiving enough oxygen-rich blood.

If the oxygen in the blood cannot reach the heart muscle, the heart becomes damaged.

In contrast, sudden cardiac arrest occurs when the electrical system to the heart malfunctions and suddenly becomes very irregular.

The heart beats dangerously fast. The ventricles may flutter or quiver (ventricular fibrillation), and blood is not delivered to the body.

In the first few minutes, the greatest concern is that blood flow to the brain will be reduced so drastically that a person will lose consciousness.

Death follows unless emergency treatment is begun immediately.

Emergency treatment includes cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and defibrillation.

CPR is a manual technique using repetitive pressing to the chest and breathing into the person’s airways that keeps enough oxygen and blood flowing to the brain until the normal heart rhythm is restored with an electric shock to the chest, a procedure called defibrillation.

Emergency squads use portable defibrillators and frequently there are public access defibrillators (AEDs, ambulatory external defibrillators) in public locations that are intended to be available for use by citizens who observe cardiac arrest.

Symptoms of sudden cardiac arrest? 

Some people may experience symptoms of sudden cardiac arrest, such as a racing heartbeat or feeling dizzy, alerting them that a potentially dangerous heart rhythm problem has started.

If you have any of the risk factors for sudden cardiac death (listed above), it is important that you speak with your doctor about possible steps to reduce your risk.

Keeping regular follow-up appointments with your doctor, making certain lifestyle changes, taking medications as prescribed, and having interventional procedures or surgery (as recommended) are ways you can reduce your risk.

Your doctor will tell you how often you need to have follow-up visits. To prevent future episodes of sudden cardiac arrest, your doctor will want to perform diagnostic tests to determine what caused the cardiac event.

Tests may include electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG), ambulatory monitoring, echocardiogram, cardiac catheterization, and electrophysiology studies.

Can sudden cardiac death be prevented? 

Ejection Fraction (EF): EF is a measurement of the percentage (fraction) of blood pumped (ejected) out of the heart with each beat.

EF can be measured in your doctor’s office during an echocardiogram (echo) or during other tests such as a MUGA (multiple gated acquisition) scan, cardiac catheterization, nuclear stress test, or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan of the heart.

The EF of a healthy heart ranges from 55% to 75%. Your EF can go up and down, based on your heart condition and the effectiveness of the therapies that have been prescribed.

If you have heart disease, it is important to have your EF measured initially, and then as needed, based on changes in your condition. Ask your doctor how often you should have your EF checked.

Reducing your risk factors 

If you have coronary artery disease — and even if you do not — there are certain lifestyle changes you can make to reduce your risk of sudden cardiac arrest.

These lifestyle changes include:

  • Quitting smoking
  • Losing weight
  • Exercising regularly
  • Following a low-fat diet
  • Managing other health conditions including high blood pressure and cholesterol

If you have questions or are unsure how to make these changes, talk to your doctor.  Patients and families should know the signs and symptoms of coronary artery disease and the steps to take if symptoms occur.

Allan Galpin gets Shs 50m machine

Zac Tamale, the senior laboratory technician at Allan Galpin Health Centre, operates the new machine (on his right) through a computer.


Allan Galpin Health Centre has set itself new target following the acquisition of a first of its kind, GYAN laboratory chemistry analyser at a cost of about Shs 50m.

The fully-automated, Belgian-made equipment with standard control that can test over 20 laboratory samples at ago, will, in the words of Zac Tamale, a laboratory technician at Allan Galpin, boost the diagnosis of patients and cut on the number of staff and student referrals the clinic makes to external, more sophiscated hospitals.

“With this machine, we can monitor variations in hypertension, blood
pressure, cholesterol and fat, bone profiles, blood calcium and iron in the
body,” Tamale explained.

In addition to the above list, the machine has the capacity to also look into
liver, kidney and heart related complications. This development comes at an opportune moment when Uganda Christian University (UCU) has unleashed plans of running a medical school in conjunction with Mengo Hospital.

The Allan Galpin Director of Health Services, Dr Geoffrey Mulindwa, said
the new acquisition, coupled with the expertise and know-how that the
centre currently boasts, will help the community around the university
considering that it is the first of its kind in Mukono.
“The clinic now has the capacity to carry out diagnosis on body organs like the liver, kidney and to assist clinicians improve on diagnosis and treatment planning,” he said.

Mulindwa added that “this will, to some extent, reduce on referrals for investigations, improve on timely decision-making to have better outcomes and cut the cost considering that UCU plans to delve into medical education and integrating faith service and learning.”

Its operation temperature is 37 degrees Celsius and has a high precision
diluter with an automatic probe wash cycle in between tests to avoid cross-contamination.

Mulindwa is confident the white piece of gadgetry, which is the size of an HP LazerJet 5200 dtn printer, that is only operational when connected to a computer, would help his staff do many blood chemistry tests for the liver kidney, heart, bone and lipid profiles.