ROP(Retinopathy of Prematurity)



Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP) is a complex eye disorder that can occur in premature infants, typically those born before 37 weeks of gestation. The condition is characterized by the abnormal growth of blood vessels in the retina, the tissue at the back of the eye responsible for processing visual information.

ROP is influenced by various factors, including the premature birth of the infant, low birth weight, infections, exposure to high levels of oxygen therapy, genetics etc. These risk factors can contribute to the development and progression of ROP, making it crucial for healthcare providers to closely monitor and manage the condition in at-risk infants. Babies with advanced retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) may require laser treatment to target the peripheral retina, ultimately preventing the condition from progressing further and preserving the child’s vision. In some cases, doctors may opt to administer anti-VEGF drugs through injections directly into the baby’s eye as another effective treatment option.

In Uganda, babies with advanced ROP may receive treatment through injections. However, stage 4B ROP cannot currently be treated in Uganda. This is why it is important to identify and intervene early before the ROP progresses to a severe stage that is beyond treatment. Our goal is to reach these babies before it is too late, in order to protect their vision and prevent irreversible damage.


Mama Tulia and Dr. Iddi Ndyabawe, an ROP expert and ophthalmologist, are working together at Kawempe National Referral Hospital to screen preterm babies born below 2kg who are on oxygen therapy for Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP). This free screening is conducted twice a month to ensure timely detection and treatment of ROP, preventing early childhood blindness. In January 2024, 40 preterm babies were screened, with three diagnosed with ROP at Stages 3 and 1. The baby with stage 3 ROP was referred to Mengo Hospital for treatment, while the two babies with stage 1 ROP are being closely monitored and their ROP has shown signs of regression. The mothers of these babies were advised to focus on proper breastfeeding for good weight gain, aiding in the timely regression of ROP. Thanks to the dedicated efforts of Mama Tulia and Dr. Ndyabawe, these preterm babies are receiving the care they need to prevent the devastating effects of ROP and preserve their vision for the future.


We are pleased to announce that thanks to the generous sponsorship of Mama Tulia, ROP screening for preemies born at Kawempe National Referral Hospital (KNRH) is now easily accessible and comes at no cost. We are thrilled to see many of the preemies who were screened show up for follow-up appointments and are making remarkable progress. This initiative, driven by a spirit of charity and compassion, reflects our commitment to ensuring the well-being of all babies under our care.


Mama Tulia has been tirelessly advocating for proper care for preterm infants at risk of developing Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP). However, many mothers remain unaware of this condition and are therefore missing out on the opportunity for early screening and treatment for their babies. Some mothers do not bring their preterm infants for ROP screening or follow-up appointments because they believe that eye problems in babies are simply unheard of and attribute it to witchcraft instead. The cost of ROP treatment in Uganda is high, making it inaccessible for many families, and there are limited hospitals equipped to provide the necessary care. This further compounds the challenges faced by vulnerable preterm infants in receiving the care they urgently need. Despite Mama Tulia's efforts, there is still a long way to go in raising awareness and providing accessible treatment for ROP in Uganda.


We are calling on donors to join us in our mission to make ROP screening and treatment accessible to all preemies, including those in rural areas. By partnering with us and other organizations, we can create awareness and provide the necessary resources to reach more preemies in remote locations. Your support can help us expand our reach and ensure that every preemie has access to life-saving screenings and treatment. Together, we can make a difference in the lives of these vulnerable infants.

Advancing Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP) Screening at National Referral Hospitals: A Collaborative Effort with Mama Tulia Organisation


This journal article highlights the pivotal role of Mama Tulia Organisation, a non-profit charity, in supporting the groundbreaking work of Dr. Iddi Ndyabawe, an ophthalmologist and ROP expert, in advancing Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP) screening at national referral hospitals in Uganda. The collaboration aims to improve outcomes for preterm babies by identifying and treating ROP in a timely manner.


Mama Tulia Organisation, founded in 2017 by Isabelle Furaha, is dedicated to supporting vulnerable mothers with premature babies, addressing their physical, economic, spiritual, and emotional needs. One of Mama Tulia’s key initiatives is collaborating with healthcare professionals to enhance ROP screening programs.

Dr. Iddi Ndyabawe: Pioneer in ROP Research in Uganda:

Dr. Iddi Ndyabawe, an ophthalmologist and ROP expert, conducted the first-ever study on ROP in Uganda from August 2022 to October 2022. Published in BMC Ophthalmology, the study revealed a significant prevalence of ROP among infants born <37 weeks gestational age, emphasizing the importance of comprehensive screening programs. The most significant risk factors for ROP were long duration of oxygen therapy, pretems not being exclusively fed on breast milk and low birth weight less than 1500 g.

Educational Initiatives by Mama Tulia:

Mama Tulia’s three ministries – pregnant mom, preemie mom, and Yuka’s Heart for premature babies – work collaboratively to increase awareness, educate mothers, and provide direct assistance to preterm infants. The organization’s vision is to reduce preterm deaths by empowering informed and supported mothers.

Dr. Iddi Ndyabawe’s Contributions:

Dr. Iddi Ndyabawe, during his tenure as a Masters’ student at Makerere University, played a crucial role in serving the Department of Ophthalmology as a Chief Resident. His dedication to advancing ROP research led him to pursue a specialized course on the ‘Management of ROP and Paediatric Retinal Diseases’ at Aravind Eye Hospital, India, in October 2023, making him the first Ugandan to receive this certification.

ROP Screening Programs:

Initiating ROP screening at Mulago Specialised Women and Neonatal Hospital (MSWNH) in July 2022, Dr. Iddi expanded the program to Kiwoko Hospital in April 2023. The collaboration with Mama Tulia facilitated ROP screening camps at Kawempe National Referral Hospital (KNRH) in June and November 2023.

Results and Impact:

Regular ROP screening, as demonstrated in the camps, proved more effective in identifying infants with treatment-requiring ROP. Dr. Iddi screened preterm babies at KNRH, identifying cases with varying severity, and ensuring timely treatment.

  • November 2023: 45 preterm babies screened, 1 identified with treatment-requiring ROP.
  • January 19, 2024: 17 preterm babies screened, 1 identified with treatment-requiring ROP.
  • January 30, 2024: 23 preterm babies screened, none found with treatment-requiring ROP.
  • February 13, 2024: 23 preterm babies screened, 3 identified with treatment-requiring ROP.