The technology, dubbed allurion gastric balloon, which was developed by scientists from America’s Harvard Medical School, causes weight loss through its ability to tame overeating.

The technology, dubbed allurion gastric balloon, which was developed by scientists from America’s Harvard Medical School, causes weight loss through its ability to tame overeating. “This technology is a 15-minute procedure where you swallow a capsule and we inflate it with a special type of water (about half a litre),” says Dr. Chiraag Kotecha, the lead specialist at Refine Skin and body clinic in Kampala.

The elastic capsule is swallowed with water and stays about four months in the stomach before it is passed out with faces.
“The balloon stretches the stomach and this reduces your appetite so that even if you eat, you don’t eat much and without doing anything, you can lose up to 15 percent of your body weight,” Dr Kotecha said.
The technology, according to scientists, relies on the normal mechanisms of the body. When you eat food on an empty stomach, the food starts collecting from the bottom of the stomach to the top as it expands the stomach. This expansion triggers a chemical response in the brain that signals satisfaction.

A 2023 report published by Iraq’s scientist Associate Prof Haider Ali Ramahi in the Pakistan Heart Journal indicates that among 185 people who underwent the procedure, “weight loss [was] about 10.5 to 33.4 kilogram”.

Depending on lifestyle after the procedure, one can keep that weight off. “We are piloting this in Uganda. It has been approved by the American Food and Drug Administration,” he said.

Mr. Abiaz Rwamwiri, the spokesperson of the National Drug Authority, told Monitor that the technology “is a clinical procedure that is not approved [by the Authority! because it is not a drug.

According to information on the website of the Authority, “NDA regulates the import, manufacture, export, and supply of medical devices in Uganda to safeguard public health”.

“Provided the procedure has been proven scientifically, and there is data to support the safety and results intended it is acceptable,” said Dr Diana Atwine, the permanent secretary of the Health Ministry.
Being overweight increases one’s death risk through hypertension, diabetes, and stroke, according to scientists.

Dr. John Omagino, the Uganda Heart Institute executive director, said obesity is usually a result of the lack of physical exercise and unregulated eating.

“We have to emphasize good nutrition, which is healthy food, full of energy-giving foods, full of vegetables and vitamins,” Dr. Omagino said.
He said an increasing number of children are also overweight.

“At the same time, we have to stretch the children and give them exercise which will help them help them develop their lungs, heart, muscles, and bones to the full. It’s the exercise which brings that and it is not only for competition but it is for health,” Dr Amagino said.

WHO on obesity
What causes obesity and overweight?
The fundamental cause of obesity and overweight is an energy imbalance between calories consumed and calories expended.
Globally, there have been:
• An increased intake of energy-dense foods that are high in fat and sugars; and
• An increase in physical inactivity due to the increasingly sedentary nature of many forms of work, changing modes of transportation and increasing urbanization.

Changes in dietary and physical activity patterns are often the result of environmental and societal changes associated with the development and lack of supportive policies in sectors such as health, agriculture, transport, urban planning, environment, food processing, distribution, marketing, and education.
Common health consequences of overweight and obesity
Raised Body mass index (BMI) is a major risk factor for noncommunicable diseases such as:
• 1 cardiovascular disease (mainly heart disease and stroke), which were the leading cause of death in 2012; diabetes;
• 1 musculoskeletal disorder (especially osteoarthritis – a highly disabling degenerative disease of the joints);
• I some cancers (including endometrial, breast, ovarian, prostate, liver, gallbladder, kidney, and colon).

The risk for these noncommunicable diseases increases, with increases in BMI.
Childhood obesity is associated with a higher chance of obesity, premature death, and disability in adulthood. But in addition to increased future risks, obese children experience breathing difficulties, increased risk of fractures, hypertension, early markers of cardiovascular disease, insulin resistance, and psychological effects.
Foods for weight loss

  1. Cabbage, cauliflower, and broccoli
  2. Fruits e.g. avocado, passion fruit
  3. Carbohydrates like maize, cassava,
  4. Beans, peas, and groundnuts

In Pictures is Lead Specialist Dr. Chiraag Kotecha with his Guests and his Family Members at the New Clinic along Ggaba Road.