Monday, July 25, 2011


I have had time to read some of the stories published commemorating one year after the July 11th 2010 killings of innocent people and those that were injured to various levels. When I imagine what the people who lost their loved ones went through and still experience to-date, as well as those who were injured some of whom will never recover to the level they were in, i have one thing for our leaders. They are insensitive! Some of them can as for now not experience such simply because they are in heaven on earth in Uganda. We call for problems we cannot solve and imagine that we are helping fellow Africans! This is sad. The testimonies are evidence that people have suffered a lot. We have enough problems. Our people are paupers and what we are doing on a daily basis is to manufacture more dependents. I only wish our Parliament could stand and reason beyond a few interests. You cannot reason that those African countries that have not taken troops to Somalia are insensitive. The matter is beyond what they can afford given the multiplicity of problems they have, but the leadership in Uganda is indifferent!
William Kituuka Kiwanuka

By Editor on Jul 11, 2011 with Comments 0
Tears flowed down the cheeks of relatives and friends of those who lost their lives in the July 11th terror attack at the Kyadondo rugby club as they marked the anniversary of the bombing.
A number of Ugandans converged at the Rugby grounds today Monday to take part in the joint interfaith memorial prayer for the lives that were lost on that fateful day,
Minister Hilary Onek who was representing government could not hold back his tears when he spoke to a 7 year girl who lost her father in the blast.
Many other people broke down and cried as they recounted the events of the night of 11th July.
The memorial prayers, organized by the Inter Religious Council of Uganda, and the management of the Kyadondo rugby club were led by Namirembe Bishop, Wilberforce Kityo Luwalira and Pastor Joseph Seruwada, the overseer of the Pentecostal Churches in Uganda.
Minister Hilary Onek delivered President Yoweri Museveni’s message to the gathering saying the nation shall not forget that tragic day and the country shall continue to mourn the people who lost lives at the hands of the merciless terrorists.

By Online Reporter
President Yoweri Museveni has paid tribute to July 11, 2010 bomb victims urging the international community to take decisive action to end the Somalia tragedy.
In statement released Sunday night, the President said Somalia is now a threat to the economies of Eastern Africa and the world.
He made the call in his remembrance statement on the eve of the July 11 al-Shabab twin bombings in Kampala that left 76 people dead and hundreds of others injured.
“As we remember our citizens who lost their lives at the hands of terrorist bombs planted in Kampala, on 11th July, 2011, I send my deepest condolences to their families. I want their families to know that we will never forget this tragic day. We will always mourn for the youth and vigor destroyed by senseless terrorists,” he said.
Ugandans today July 11, mark the first anniversary of the al-shabab twin bombings in Kampala. The memorial service led by the Inter- religious council of Uganda and the Uganda Christian Council is taking place at Kyadondo Rugby Club ground, Lugogo.
Some People shed tears as internal affairs minister Hillary Onek lit candles in the memory of the victims.
Relatives of those killed by the blasts testified that it was difficult come to terms with the loss.
“At the same time, I want to appeal to our Somali brothers and sisters to help us so that we help them. We do not have any other interest in Somalia except ideological reasons of Pan-Africanism. We want Africa to be free of all foreign interference; including by these idiots called extremists. Those who died here in Kampala, where there was no war frontline, paid the ultimate price for our country’s commitment to Pan-Africanism. I salute each and every one of them,” he added.
The President said the situation in Somalia has now evolved into a real problem for the whole Eastern Africa and even the world.
“Somalia is the exporter of terrorism in the whole area. The pirates have made shipping to this region very expensive since ships must make huge diversions in vain attempts to avoid the pirates. Therefore, Somalia is now a threat to the economies of Eastern Africa,” he said.
U.S embassy joined Ugandans to mourn the loss of many innocent lives and pledge continued assistance to the Government of Uganda in its pursuit of justice for the victims of this terrible crime.
The U.S. Ambassador to Uganda, Jerry P. Lanier, said, “The American people send their condolences to the people of Uganda and all nations affected by the terrorist attacks in Kampala a year ago. We send our thoughts and prayers to the loved ones of those who were killed or injured. On this day, we are reminded of the strong bonds that unite us as we work together to protect our people from perpetrators of terror and those who seek to harm us.”

Brenda Banura

11 July 2011

The night of July 10, found me at home--but I was on call for duty; I could be called back to work in case of an emergency. I am not a football fan and I was watching the World Cup finals just because there was nothing else to do.
At about 11pm, I received a call from someone who knew that I was a committee member of the Kyadondo Rugby Club and a doctor as well. He told me there had been an explosion at the club and asked me to check if my friends were okay.

Duty calls
Hardly had I hang up than I received a call from an intern at Mulago Hospital, saying they needed life support help. That means the patient is critically ill and must be supported to keep alive (anaesthesiology).
I called my colleagues; Dr Ronnie Kaddu and Dr Deng Arop to come and help. Within five minutes we were at the hospital from our abode at the Doctors' Village. On arrival, we could not believe what we saw. It was chaos.
In fact, we could not gain access through the Accident and Emergency Unit casualty department, which was jammed with cars. We had to go through the fourth floor (which is the main entrance). When we got there, we found doctors from other departments. There was a team from neuro surgery, orthopaedic surgery and general surgery. All Mulago Hospital staff contributed immensely, I was touched by the level of commitment, care and involvement of various specialists.
The place was a hive of activity. It was turbulent. There were bodies lying all over the corridor and blood was all over. The victims were in various states of disrepair; some were drowsy, others gasping for life, some were agitated and others had passed on. They had broken limbs, missing and shattered body parts.
You would find someone's entire abdomen shattered but their upper body intact. There were all sorts of injuries. Everyone was there trying to help, doctors were doing nurses' work, policemen, volunteers were doing as instructed and there were victims' relatives trying to find them and get help.
The head of the Accident and Emergency Unit, Dr Jackie Mabweijano, was already at the hospital. She told me they had identified about 12 people who were in a very critical condition and needed life support and asked that my crew takes over. I had told the intern to get some equipment so she had it with her when we arrived.
We began work, trying to sustain life as we took the patients for the CT (Computerised Tomography) scan to help investigate what was wrong and later transported them to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). Unfortunately, some died before we could get them to ICU. I had never seen some of the injuries I saw that day. It was the first time I was faced with severely injured people of that magnitude, it was painful.

Field of death
One man's head was literally blown off but he was still breathing, one or two died while in the CT scan and when you looked at the images that came out of the scan, they were not compatible with life. Nothing would have been done to save them.
I called Dr Kenneth Luzinda, who was covering ICU, asking how many free beds we had. There were already five patients in the ICU before the explosions. Then (and now) the ICU could accommodate up 12 people out of which only six are fully equipped with life support equipment.
That meant we had only one free bed with which we could offer life support. But we had about seven people who would have benefited from the life support machines. They all had severe head and chest injuries. We had to make a difficult decision to choose which patient to put on life support and which ones not to. It was very hard thing to do.
Unfortunately the one we put on life support first died after about four hours. From that first lot of people that went to ICU, only three people walked out alive. One is Ojara (who now is strapped to a wheel chair and lives in an orphanage in Kitgum. Daily Monitor ran his story on June 17-Editor), another is Timothy but I don't remember the third person's name.
But there's a man I will never ever forget. His head received the brunt of the impact and it was terribly deformed. Only his eyes still had life. His eyes seemed to beg me to save him, but I failed. I tried to put a breathing tube down his throat and found bomb fragments inside. I still don't know how they got there.
There was no bone structure on his chest so we could not perform CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation). His family members were there with him. We could not help him. I gave him a strong dose of morphine so that he could die peacefully. But I still remember those eyes, I always will.
The manner in which the injured were transported left a lot to be desired. Many were piled on the police patrol cars. Each car transported about three to four people, so you can imagine what the one at the bottom was going through. In such cases, onsite management is very important.
The way victims are handled on scene, the way they are transported and the reception can help improve one's chances of survival (triage). I hope Police have learnt their lesson and thankfully they have started an emergency ambulance service--credit Dr Moses Byaruhanga and Maj. Gen. Kale Kayihura.
At 6am, I took a break and Dr Cephas Mijumbi came in with a relief team to take over. I was so tired and had become ineffective. I was dumb, drained and my clothes were full of blood. I had to burn the clothes when I got home.
I returned to hospital at 4pm, and work was still going on in the five main theatres to help the survivors. It was at this point that I leant that only three of the group of victims we had attended to were still alive. The rest had died. I went to the anaesthesiology office and broke down.
I kept wondering why anyone would do such a thing, killing innocent football fans. It is not like they were at war or rioting. Most of the dead were young, energetic people with many years ahead of them. In fact, my initial anger was directed at the government for its involvement in Somalia. But I now understand that it is for our good--for the good of our African brothers.
I kept wondering if we could have done better, if we could have saved more lives. It was very disturbing. For the first week I had nightmares. At ICU we are close to death. It strikes you but you must gather yourself and move on or else you will fail to work.

Carry on
My message to the survivors is that you need to know you didn't survive in vain. Work hard to continue your recovery and move on. At the ICU, nothing has changed since 7/11 as far as equipment is concerned yet we could have saved some more people if we were better equipped. The equipment is not cheap but we need it. One bed fitted with all the life saving equipment costs about Shs120m but it can save up to 100 lives in a year. We need to have about 50 beds all complete with life support equipment for Mulago Hospital alone.

The state of Mulago's Intensive Care Unit
Situated on the 3rd floor of Mulago Hospital, the Intensive Care unit looks after people who are critically ill and have life threatening illness most of which are usually related to organ dysfunction. The unit operates with two intensivists (doctors who work at ICU), Arthur Kwizera and Jane Nakibuka, its head.
Dr Kwizera says it also has a team of 20 nurses who are specially trained in ICU nursing. He adds, "The staff is not enough. Many times, we are supported by people from the department of anaesthesia. A number of medical officers also provide cover during the weekend and on public holidays."
"On an average day," says Dr Kwizera, "Dr Nakibuka and I work together during the day for 12 to 16 hours. At night, we alternate on who is first on call in case of an emergency. Post-graduate students who live near the hospital sometimes come in depending on the situation. As for the nurses, they work in shifts of eight hours."
In an ideal situation, the unit should have at least six intensivists and 70 nurses. Apart from the staff, the equipment is also not enough. Currently ICU has 12 beds. Of these, six are fully equipped with life support equipment and the others are used for advanced monitoring. This is far from what the unit should have.

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