Mubiru Lwasa: The Boy In A Box

Lwasa is one of the very many patients who have received life-changing care and treatment in Hope Ward, thanks to the continued support from our generous sponsors, some of whom take part each year in the MTN Fun Run.

I am re-posting this, it was first published on February 20th, 2010.

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Last year there were almost 250 patients cared for on Hope Ward. I am always inspired when I read the patient stories and I wanted to share this one in particular; in summary Mubiru’s story is:

  • Abused by his grandmother at age 12, locked in a metal box,
  • Rescued by his neighbours,
  • Thought to be dying, handed over to a hospice,
  • Brought by the hospice nurse to Hope Ward, unable to move, talk or look after himself,
  • After very many months of loving care and treatment now looking for a new home and a new start.

Mubiru when he was admitted to Hope Ward Mubiru ready to start a new life

You can read his story below or by clicking here.

If you would like to help Mubiru and our other patients on Hope Ward click here to find the many different ways in which you can give. Please tell others.

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Mubiru Lwasa is a young 12 year old boy who has suffered a great deal. Mubiru has never really had a place to call home. His mother and father are separated and have moved on to marry other partners and have other children. He lived with his mother for several years and she took him to primary school however he fell sick and she took him back to his father. At this point she had five children with her current husband (not Mubiru’s father) and she could not continue to care for him. This would mark the beginning of a long period of suffering and abuse in Mubiru’s life.

Mubiru was taken out of school and did hard labour for his grandmother and at some point was beaten so badly that his hand and leg were fractured. He was locked up in a metallic box and starved almost to the point of death. When Mubiru’s father noticed that his son was dying, he took him back to his village in Mpigi for fear of the cost of transporting a dead body.

When Mubiru’s father arrived in Mpigi the people in his village were shocked by the site of the boy’s emaciated body. The villagers refused to let Mubiru’s father rest until he had taken him to hospital. On arrival at Mulago hospital the nurses and others who saw Mubiru’s father carry his crippled smelly body into the hospital were so outraged they wanted to lynch him. Mubiru’s father was then ‘rescued’ by the police and taken to Luzira prison.

However now that Mubiru’s father was taken away there was no one left to take care of Mubiru while he was at Mulago. Fortunately a kind Ugandan lady (Mable) had compassion on him and chose to look after him, though she did not really have much to offer him but loving care.

Medical personnel at Mulago thought Mubiru was dying and contacted a nurse who works for Hospice Uganda. This lady contacted Hope Ward and asked us to admit him for treatment as she did not think he was terminally ill.

When Mubiru first arrived at Hope Ward, he was in very bad shape. He had sores and wounds all over his body. He could barely support himself in the wheelchair and the slightest movement would make him scream. Mubiru could neither talk nor feed himself, he was incontinent, he was very pale and the hair on his head was so thin, his lips were pale dry and chapped, he looked like a patient with full blown AIDS.

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A Case of Cervical Cancer

By Jemimah Kiboss:

A few weeks ago a relatively young lady (Rose*) walked into my office looking ten years older than she actually was. She came looking for help for her mother with an ultrasound scan report indicating that her mother had a mass in her cervix and another mass nearby as well as a collection of fluids in her abdomen. She told me a horrifying story of a woman in excruciating pain and health workers who could not do much for her because specialists at a certain facility were engaged in an exercise that could not afford them time to attend to this patient.

When I discussed these reports with our specialist gynaecologist and oncologist they suspected that the lady had advanced cancer of the cervix. The Hope Ward team reviewed the case and agreed that there would be no added value in admitting this lady to Hope Ward. She was probably receiving all the care she could at this alternative hospital because she already had a visit from a palliative care nurse and a supply of morphine.

When we broke this news to Rose she could understand the logic behind the situation but pleaded with us to admit her mother. She said that her mother was tired of being at this other facility and had asked them to take her home to die. Her sisters had sent her to Hope Ward in hope that we would admit her and provide better care. Unfortunately at this time the ward was fully occupied. She begged us to admit her mother and at least even provide space for her to sleep on the floor but this was against hospital policy.

After many hours of discussion with this lady, the oncologist agreed to at least review her mother in the clinic and advise the family. So she was given an appointment for the following day. However Rose and her mother did not return to the clinic on the next day. Her mother’s condition worsened and she was admitted into hospital. She came back with the same request, if we could only admit her mother because she felt that she was not receiving adequate care at this other hospital; again our ward was full. We tried to explain this to Rose and she said she could understand but she just had to fight for her mother and could not bear the sight of her mother in so much pain and suffering.

Two days later I came to work early in the morning and found Rose seated on a bench at the Hope Ward balcony and her mother on the floor. She was in too much pain to sit down. Fortunately the Hope Ward team had discharged a patient the previous day, so Rose’s mother was given a bed. The challenge the Hope Ward team now faced was to stabilise the patient;

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Nansubuga Hajara: Hope Ward

By: John-Paul

Nansubuga HajaraName: Nansubuga Hajara

Age: 1 year 7 months

Medical condition: Malnutrition, right leg sepsis that required skin grafting

Nansubuga Hajara a 1 year and 7 months old baby born to Ssebanakita Mohammed 25 years old and Namatovu Shadia a 20 year old mom reside in Kawanda Wakiso District. Father is a truck driver and the mother sells second hand women clothes for a living. At two months after birth, Hajara developed complications with her right leg that could not completely stretch, she was taken to a local herbalist who worked on her and she got better. A few weeks later, Hajara was taken for immunisation in Nsambya Hospital. She was immunised on the same leg that the Herbalist had worked on. The injection site became very septic. The family tried treating the septic wound from Home but the wound just continued getting worse. Hajara was taken to Mulago National Referral Hospital, but on assessment, the medical team at Mulago noted that the child had malnutrition and they were referred to Mwanamujimu nutritional Rehabilitation ward. In Mwanamujimu, the child was put under nutritional Rehabilitation, but the septic wound just worsened, continued with the treatment, debridement was done to get rid of rotten Flesh. All this was done on the General ward by Dr Muhamme, with continued daily wound dressing.

Unfortunately there was minimal improvement in Hajara’s condition then Dr Muhamme decided to approach IMF(Hope Ward) to assist in taking up the patient who at that time needed skin grafting to be done but family could not afford the costs in Mulago National Referral Hospital.

Hajara was admitted on Hope Ward where she got under the care of our pediatricians (Dr Jackie and Dr Renjini) and Physician (Dr Edith).She was put under intensive Nutrition Rehabilitation care with high protein/ energy feeds for about 1 and a half months with of course the routine nursing care and treatment as due. Her Nutrition deficiency was then totally eliminated and on the 20th September 2010, skin grafting was done for the once very septic wound; (Dr Sam) was the lead surgeon for this operation. Wound dressing and antibiotic treatment have been done and Hajara is really doing very well and so are the parents that do greatly appreciate all the medical attention that they have received from Hope ward.

How the parents feel about the services received:

The dad is very happy he was given this opportunity to receive medical attention here at Hope ward and appreciates all the services they have received.

When hospital is better than home

The Observer has published an update about David Muhwezi, who has been treated on Hope Ward for a rare skin condition.

Written by Shifa Mwesigye, published Wednesday, 30 March 2011 22:22 and linked here.

Muhwezi-002The photo above from The Observer, click to see original posting.

David’s condition caused him to be rejected by those around him and left him suffering from his open sores and wounds.

A journalist found him during one of the President’s election rallies and some time after he was brought to Hope Ward. There he received care, compassion and healing.

He now stays with a foster carer and others have offered financial support, which may help to send David to school.

A real heart-warming story of how we can each play a part in helping to change the misfortune of others.

Earlier stories about David:

Too sick to mix with humanity

Muhwezi: Not too sick to mix with humanity anymore.

Sick boy moved to IHK

Mbazira Ramulah treated on Hope Ward

By Jemimah Kiboss:

  • Medical condition: Chronic Deep Venous Thrombosis

Mbazira Ramulah is a 27 year old adult female residing in Kabalagala Zana Zone, a single mother with 2 children, a grade three teacher who stopped teaching because of her medical condition.

Ramulah has had a blood clotting disorder for the last ten years and has been on Warfarin, that she has been getting from Mulago. She begun with simple blisters, but on scratching these, they developed into wounds. She received some treatment from Mulago but the wounds did not heal. She has also tried using herbal medicine but still there has not been any improvement. She normally feels a burning sensation especially in the evening and morning hours on the lower limb wounds.

Ramulah was identified by Dr Ian in the Community; he brought her to Hope Ward where she was assessed by Dr Sheila. On physical examination she had swollen painful limbs with open wounds and redness associated with dilation of the surface veins. A number of investigations were done including CBC, primary coagulation studies, doppler ultrasound, X-rays, RFTs LFTs. We initially thought surgical intervention could be necessary but on assessment by the general surgeon, Dr Sam, opted for medical treatment with the use of Warfarin, daily wound dressing and 24 hour limb elevation.

Within about 2 weeks of treatment on Hope Ward, the wounds had started showing signs of healing. The wounds healed well, she was discharged and is now routinely seen as an outpatient with visits to both our in-house Surgeon and Physician.

How Ramulah feels about the services received

She is very happy and thankful to Dr Ian who was able to bring her to Hope Ward. She will be resuming her teaching profession as soon as she gets another job.

Hope Ward Restored my HOPE

I am Rose, a female 38yrs old. I was diagnosed with a tumour of the lower Rectum following investigations e.g. Colonoscopy. The Surgeon suggested that I would benefit from surgery which could be done better from IHK. I requested the Doctor if he could refer me to any other hospital because I could never afford the financial affairs at IHK.

Being a complicated surgery, Doctor refused and told me to pray to God so as he would discuss it with IHK In charge. The next communication was giving me an appointment as when to have surgery. I couldn’t believe it! The surgeon told me that I would only stay in hospital between 7-14 days.

After operation I found myself in a comfortable bed at Hope Ward. With very good nursing care, I improved gradually, after day 10; I was ready to go home and developed severe abdominal pain with vomiting. The general condition worsened and I was re-admitted. Imagine 14 days hospital stay turned into 30 days! But during my stay, I really received quality care, with love from the entire staff of Hope Ward.

They worked tirelessly day and night, giving me care, support, counselling, very special and treatments including investigations. I had lost hope! I believe if it wasn’t the quality of care from the devoted staff of Hope Ward, I would be dead! I believe the treatment was very very expensive but I managed to receive it all. I am improving gradually and very happy with my family who had lost hope too!

My sincere thanks goes to ALL IHK staff especially: DR. MOSES G., DR. HAFISA, DR. SAM, THEATRE STAFF, my dear nurses of Hope Ward, and to our dear funders/sponsors of Hope Ward who contribute generously towards patients care and treatment.

May the loving God reward you always. Thank you so much.

Yours Sincerely,

Nnabatanzi Rose Mubiru

From MASAKA-KITOVU

Hope Ward Annual Report 2010

By Jemimah Kiboss:

In the 11 months to the end of November 2010 Hope Ward admitted 227 patients for a total of 2,730 bed-nights.

This year, funds raised for Hope Ward amounted to UGX 89.4 million (~£25,000); 43% of these funds came from our corporate sponsors – Bead for Life, Mvule Trust & Narrow Road.

Most (80%) of the Hope Ward expenses amounting to approximately UGX 459 million (~£130,000) were paid by International Medical Group.

Please click on the image below to download the annual summary report which has some further financial details and a few patient stories.

The Overall Aim of Hope Ward is to

cater for the underprivileged in need of high quality complex treatment, who would otherwise not afford this much needed and often life saving care. We intend to do what we can to alleviate the suffering and improve the quantity and quality of life of our patients.

We have some spare capacity in Hope Ward and with additional funding we could help many more needy people in 2011. Please support us in whatever way you can.

Hope Ward Cancer Patients

Here are four of the many patients that have been treated and cared for by the team at Hope Ward Cancer Care unit. The costs for this care have been met through your continued, generous support.

Thank you all very much.

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This is “Emma” in October 2010 with his mother and Sister Aisha, chemotherapy nurse.

Emmanuel (“Emma”) is doing remarkably well – When Dr Helena returned from a trip to UK, she noticed that he had grown several centimetres and put on weight. We were all devastated when he relapsed from his leukaemia over a year ago. He was subjected to further aggressive re-induction, consolidation and now, maintenance chemotherapy. We are delighted at the latest bone marrow results this October 2010 that continue to show remission. He and especially his mother are very brave. Emma now faces a few more years of maintenance therapy.

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Maria came to the Hope Ward Cancer clinic a short time ago, Dr Helena believes this young girl is one out of so few who has a disease which is potentially curable. We have started chemotherapy and hope and pray that she will have continued help to complete her treatment as she is a very bright and precious little girl, the apple of her mother’s eye.

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Eva is so positive – she was one of our first patients to be treated with breast cancer that had spread to the lymph nodes in March 2006. She is still in remission and whenever she comes she wishes to say a big “thank you” for all the help the team and sponsors have given her – she says she owes her life to those who have contributed. She has now set up and runs a small shop in a village.

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Margaret is a humble and gracious woman and has no support – tragically, 7 out of 8 of her children have died. She couldn’t afford treatment for a womb mass and leg swelling. We investigated her problem and are considering a combination of gynaecological, radiotherapy and systemic treatments..

Advent: Day 14 Calvin Treated for Elephantiasis

Calvin is just one of our many hundreds of patients treated free of charge in Hope Ward. He had operations regularly with us for over two years, after which he was able to go back to school at the age of 25.

Elephantiasis is an infection that blocks lymph drainage from the legs. They swell over many years until they are the size of elephant legs. You can read more about Calvin’s treatment and see the before and after photos (which may upset some) by clicking on the photo above.