Ms Margaret Ayoo, a widow and cleaner in a Kampala school, has been given three months to raise $40,000 (Shs142m) to save her daughter with kidney failure.
“I don’t know what to do, I don’t know what to say. I have used all my strength from the time she [daughter Aciro Catherine] has been falling sick on and off, right from secondary school,” Ms Ayoo told this reporter yesterday.
Ms Ayoo said Aciro, a university student, is currently undergoing dialysis at Nsambya hospital as she awaits kidney transplant.
She said Aciro needs at least Shs2 million per week for the four sessions of dialysis.
Aciro is not the only person in need of kidney transplant, which is largely unaffordable to many Ugandans.
Dr Robert Kalyesubula, a kidney specialist at Mulago Hospital, said they have more than 300 patients on dialysis and that most of them cannot afford it.
He said around 30 people go for kidney transplant abroad each year but that those in need are more than 500.
Dr Simon Peter Eyoku, the head of kidney disease unit at Mulago, revealed to this reporter on Monday that the government has established a world-class facility and trained 14 Ugandan experts in India to start kidney transplant at Mulago. He said this will be important in saving Ugandans who need the service but can’t go abroad for transplant.
Dr Rosemary Byanyima, the deputy director of Mulago Hospital and Ministry of Health commissioner for clinical services, Dr Jackson Amone, confirmed the development.
“As Mulago hospital, we are ready to start doing kidney transplant. The building is [already] there, the equipment is there, and we shall start soon,” Dr Byanyima told this reporter.
She declined to reveal the date when this will start or amount of money spent to establish the structures.
Sources within the ministry revealed to this reporter that the government spent about Shs10 billion on the facility at Mulago and that transplant will likely start by end of this year or early next year.
“The transplant in the country will cost about Shs50 million but the government may revise and bring it down, but people will still have to pay something. This will work well when there is national health insurance scheme because many people may still fail to access care,” one of the sources said.