Jinja: For three years now, 18-year-old Irene Kayinza from Malongo, Mayuge district has been suffering from what is known in Busoga as a Kidaada, an abdominal distension that’s caused by Cancer. Call it a swollen stomach.
She is an orphan, lost her father at an early age and her mother is a disabled old village woman who has to take care of herself and Irene.
Yet on top of the cancerous stomach problem, Irene got a big wound on her leg and the medical examination confirmed cancer too.
When Busoga Today met Irene at the Emergency Ward of Jinja Hospital, only Peninah Auma, her caretaker could talk to us about her situation.
“Ever since she got a swollen stomach, her whole-body swells including her face, mouth, eyes and both her legs would swell as well. The wound on her leg has been coming and stays for weeks then it heals on its own, recently it came back and we could see water oozing out of it and she was in so much pain,” Peninah Auma said.
“An elderly lady back in the village could use hot water to clean the wound twice a day but it was not doing much as the pain increased. Then later a Good Samaritan from the village saw her situation and decided to give us a helping hand and that’s how we ended up here at the hospital,” Ms. Peninah narrated.
When they got to Jinja hospital, they were taken to the emergency section because she was in a lot of pain and required urgent attention. But the emergency section was full. She had to do with a bed outside on the verandah.
Once in a while, a random intern would come and check on her, a doctor would come to look through her medical reports and disappear in the crowd of sick people littering the ward’s hallway.
“There was space inside the ward but I do not know why we were told to stay outside. We haven’t been worked on since we came here but the medical team promised to clean the wound on her leg and that she would undergo a surgery,” the caretaker said adding that they were also asked to first pay UgSh.550, 000 before they would work on the patient.
Typical of rural approach, Irene’s minders first tried to cure the ailment with local herbs.
“But there was no change. So, we decided to mobilize some funds and took her to some clinics in Mayuge. It is there that we were told to come to Jinja and when tests in clinics in Jinja showed a possible cancer, we were asked to come here,” said Mr Bbosa Ngobi, a local leader in Buluta Parish Mayuge.
At Jinja hospital, they have been asked to pay shs550,000 before any service is given to the patient. They are, however, outspent.
“The few tests that have been done so far have been costly as they have spent over a million just to transport Irene from the village and also take the tests yet she still needs to undergo a serious treatment in order to be completely healed,” said Mr Ngobi adding that they are hoping to get more funds from charity organizations or people that can extend a helping hand as they are not in position to pay all the hospitals bills on their own.