Surgical reconstruction of Northern Uganda war victims.
Background: Aid groups estimate that since 1086 when the war conflicts in Northern Uganda started, over 30,000 people have died in the insurgency and over 20,000 people have remained maimed. Arising from the conflict, innocent civilians have had their limbs, lips, eyes, ears, noses, breasts, fingers and toes cut off.
Patients and Methods: Between 2004 and 2005, a total of 34 victims of the Northern Uganda war, underwent reconstructive surgery. Most of the patients were treated from the local hospitals of Lira, Gulu and Kitgum.
Results: Between 2004 and 2006, the Plastic Surgery team of Mulago hospital rehabilitated 34 victims of the northern war. Of these 23 were females and 11 were males. Most of these people had suffered severe disfigurements which necessitated multiple staged reconstructive procedures on them. The majority of the reconstructive operations were on the lips despite the fact that many victims had also suffered from mutilation of other body parts.
Conclusion: Effects of the insurgency on individuals, families and communities included:
- Increased burden on health care delivery
- Hospital capacity overwhelmed with few doctors and nurses available
- Increased number of traumatised people
- Increased number of war causalities
- Population maimed with body parts cut off
- Increased dependency of local population on hand outs from government and relief agencies.
Hence the need to strive for peaceful resolution of the Northern Uganda war conflict.