Prevalence, nature and characteristics of external congenital anomalies at Mulago Hospital
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Background: Congenital anomalies may be structural, behavioral, functional or metabolic defects acquired before a baby is born and their nature and type are highly dependent on the causative agent as well as the time when they are first diagnosed. There was a need to identify the different defects present at birth among Ugandans in order to appreciate the magnitude of each and its eventual effect on the affected individual. The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence, nature and characteristics of external congenital anomalies in live born babies at Mulago hospital. Methods: This was a cross-sectional descriptive study conducted at New Mulago hospital, Kampala Uganda. It involved 754 new born babies who were delivered over a period of four months. They were all examined and evaluated for external anomalies before discharge.Results: A total of 754 live born infants were evaluated for external anomalies during the study; 52.8% were males and 47.0% were females while 0.2% was hermaphrodite. Of the 754 babies, 33 had external congenital anomalies although two of these babies had two anomalies each, making a total of 35 anomalies. The percentage of babies with external congenital anomalies was 4.4. The different anomalies found included those involving limbs (45.7%), Cleft lip and palate (14.2%), Central Nervous System (8.5%), Omphalocele (5.8%), Spina bifida (5.8%) and others (20.0%). Many of these anomalies were a cause of moderate to severe disability. Conclusions/Recommendations: The most common external anomalies were limb defects followed by cranio-facial anomalies both of which constituted more than 68% of all cases. If not well managed, majority of these anomalies can greatly affect the quality of life of the individual. Hence need for appropriate and timely care to reduce on the magnitude of suffering the anomaly would otherwise have caused to the individual, family and the wider community.