Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Former NTV news anchor, Gabriel Epenu is still struggling to recover fully due to lack of funds following an accident eight years ago.
Epenu was involved in an accident at Seeta in Mukono district in 2013, which left him bedridden.
His sister, Natasha Epenu, says the accident destroyed Epenu’s brain cells affecting the left side of his brain, memory, speech, movements and sight. He also experienced brain trauma on the left part of his brain, which left him partially paralyzed.
“That is why he has difficulty in physical movement, speech, and memory,” Natasha Epenu said.
According to Natasha, Epenu has made gradual improvements and is able to walk slowly limping, bath, clean and read. She, however, says the cost of rehabilitating the former TV star is high.
Natasha explains that besides feeding Epenu, who has not worked for close to eight years, she needs Shillings 600,000 for physiotherapy and occupational therapy, which is done three times a week at the International hospital Kampala and Butabika hospital respectively.
Epenu’s mother, Peruth Epenu says the major problem that has persisted is with speech, recovery of the full memory and partial paralysis on his left side.
She says that a neurologist at International Hospital Kampala has recommended that Epenu is supervised and on regular physio and occupational therapy treatment, which requires funds and resources that the family does not currently have.
Davidson Elyau, one of the uncles who are taking care of Epenu, says that despite the challenges he will be fine. Elyau says that the medical personnel have recommended that Epenu gets involved in social group games to help him recollect his memory and speech.
Maurice Mugisha, who worked with Epenu at NTV before crossing to UBC TV, says he organized a fundraising for his former workmate in 2014, but it was frustrated by some family members who did not want to show that they were not caring for their relative and needed support.
“Part of my family is against it. They did not want to look like they are not supporting him,” admitted Natasha Epenu.
“I moved in with him, to get him back on his feet after seven years of little progress. He needs proper treatment and he is not getting it because every body has moved on to their own things,” she said.
Singer Iryn Namubiru, a friend and companion to Epenu, disclosed that she used to visit him frequently at International Hospital Kampala but gave up after realizing that his family wasn’t open to her.
“After explaining my relationship with Gabriel to the medical personnel who cared for him in hospital; they could allow me on several occasions get into his hospital room alone and have time with him,” said Namubiru.