Home > Bufuka Nursery, Clinic, Fundraising, Health, Volunteers > Help us to help Rita!

Help us to help Rita!

The team in Uganda are very excited to have heard that Rebecca Swan (our Project Manager) has been successful in her attempts to find an organisation to accept a young child from Bufuka  for life-saving heart surgery.

Rita

Rita

Katushabe Rita is twelve years old and was once a student at the Edirisa Nursery school in Bufuka. She enjoyed school but was unable to participate in games time because she became tired quickly and had an abnormally fast heartbeat. When she finished top class she dropped out of education because she was too weak to walk anywhere. The volunteer doctors from Slovenia realised that she had a heart problem and referred her to Mulago hospital in Kampala (Uganda’s capital).

The Uganda Heart Institute confirmed that Rita was suffering from Rheumatic Heart Disease and would need to be referred for surgery in the near future. Unfortunately the family were unable to afford treatment and regular visits to Kampala so Rita remained home for four years without medication.

Through a series of fortunate circumstances Rebecca met Rita earlier this year and learned of her story since leaving our nursery school. At that time she was suffering from severe stomach and chest pains and had grown very shy having spent so much time isolated from all but her family. The disease had obviously worsened; her breathing was very shallow, she had a distended stomach and oedema of the legs. Her face was aged beyond her years and she looked like a pregnant skeleton, weighing only 22kg. Her mother told us that sometimes she “hated herself” and would sink into depression.

Within a few days of meeting Rebecca managed to get her to Mulago hospital where she remained for three weeks awaiting various tests. During that time Rebecca researched the possible avenues of funding for surgery abroad. We had learnt that one of the valves in Rita’s heart was damaged and would need replacing. The Uganda Heart Institute don’t have the facilities to perform valve replacement surgery yet so patients must pay for private, international surgery. For families such as Rita’s, who have trouble funding a journey to Kampala alone, this is an impossible feat. Luckily there are various international organisations who sponsor surgery for children such as Rita and so Rebecca set about contacting them.

The applications all required various tests and referrals and thanks to the generosity of friends and family Rebecca managed to pay for all of the medical/transport costs. Rita started a new course of medicine that helped to stabilise her condition and she became much more positive about her future. She told us that if she got better she would study to become a nurse and would like to work in Edirisa’s new clinic on Bwama Island (which Rebecca has project managed).

Rebecca sent of the applications and after waiting impatiently for two months has finally got the positive news: The Chain of Hope Charity will sponsor Rita’s surgery at the Aswan Heart Centre in Egypt! Her surgery will take place in January and will be performed by world-renowned heart surgeon Sir Magdi Yacoub.

In a recent meeting with Rita’s cardiologist when asked if Rita understood the surgery as she seems so calm about it all, her mother said that she understands the dangers but that she is in so much pain that she wants it to happen as soon as possible. She keeps asking: “Why can’t we go tomorrow?”

However, Chain of Hope cannot sponsor the flights or passports and visas – once in Egypt everything else will be covered. We need to raise £1,500 for everything needed to get Rita and her mum to Egypt so we are asking all of our supporters if they can help by making a small donation to the Virgin Money Giving page that Rebecca and the Edirisa team in Uganda have set up – http://tiny.cc/3an4nw. Every little helps, if we can get everyone to donate a small amount we will get there.

A big thank you to Darrell and Diane Swan who have contributed most of the medical fees so far.  It’s wonderful to think that in London offices, Egyptian hospitals and homes all around the world there are people who all want to help a child thousands of miles away in a tiny village.

Well done Rebecca – this is a great achievement!

 

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