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Kamuli girl who walked 12km for ARVs dead
Publish Date: Apr 13, 2012
By Tom Gwebayanga
Rachel Namulondo, the 17-year-old girl who has been trekking for 12 kilometers for five months to pick her ARV's from Kamuli Main Hospital in Kamuli district, has died.
Namulondo, whose plight ran in New Vision, died in her 85-year-old grandfather’s hut in Gwozira zone in Nabwigulu sub-countyTuesday night.
The teen has been a common sight along Nabirumba -Kamuli road en route to pick her ARV's from the hospital and back to her home.
Her father, Amuza Lugandha abandoned her, saying he could not waste his money on an AIDS victim.
According to Stephen Namayo, the Community Based Facilitator (CBF) under Plan-Kamuli, Namulondo died when her grandfather, Nasani Musengawe was asleep.
She developed a high temperature and started vomiting after supper which briefly stopped after midnight
Her grandfather, thinking the girl was a bit okay, retired to his bed as the girl battled for her life but died. Mzee Musengawe woke up at about 6.30 am only to find his granddaughter lifeless.
The LC1 Chairman, James Balukube said Namulondo, whose mother, Monica Nakamya, , died four years ago, got infected with HIV a decade ago as she attended to her aunt, Monique Naggita, who was an HIV/AIDS victim.
She tested HIV positive in 2004 and has been struggling to live single-handedly, picking her ARV's on foot for the last five months of her life, until Tuesday night.
Girl walks 12km for ARVs
Publish Date: Apr 10, 2012
By Tom Gwebayanga
For the last five months, 17-year-old Martha (not real name) has been a common sight on the Nabirumba-Kamuli road on her way to pick antiretro- viral (ARV) drugs from Kamuli Hospital.
Her monthly trek began in December last year after her father, a resident of Nabwigulu sub-county, kicked her out of his home, saying he would not waste his resources on an HIV/ AIDS patient.
Left with no choice, Martha left to live with grandfather, 9km farther away from the nearest health facility.
This meant that despite her precarious health, she had to walk 12km to pick ARVs.
Martha’s plight came to light last Friday at Nabirumba Health Centre III, where Plan, an NGO, organised a function to mark the World Tuberculosis Day.
“We have, in our midst, an AIDS patient, whose parents have dumped. She walks 12km to and from hospital to collect her ARVs,” the Kamuli district information officer, Joseph Ngobi, said.
Ngobi said Martha’s life was in danger because the grandfather, Nasani Musengawe, was too poor to provide a balanced diet or food supplements for the girl, let alone for himself.
“She is sickly because of poor feeding. A person on ARVs needs to eat foods that are rich in proteins and carbohydrates,” Ngobi added.
The sight of the frail girl evoked pity as she slowly sat up and struggled to speak.
“I have lost hope. Much as I get the drugs, I should have a balanced diet, which my grandfather cannot afford,” Martha said.
She said she loves matooke, rice, meat, chicken and milk but nobody can offer her such food.
Martha knew her HIV status in 2002 when she was only eight years old.At the time, she had been looking after her bedridden HIV-positive aunt.
She dropped out of school in Primary Four when her health deteriorated.
Her mother died of natural causes four years ago and her father, who has not remarried, lives with Martha’s only brother.
Nabirumba LC1 chairman James Bakulube said Martha could have contracted HIV 10 years ago as she took care of her aunt.
Four years later, he added, she developed health complications and was tested and found to be HIV-positive.
After the results, he says, her father rejected her.
“He was advised to take care of the child or face arrest.
He took heed last year, but for the last five months, the child has had to walk from her grandfather’s home to pick her ARVs,” Ngobi said.
Kamuli community officer Leo Merewooma appealed to NGO’s and civil society organisations to help Martha.
The acting LC5 chairman, Samuel Bamwole, appealed for collective responsibility and parental care towards the girl.