Soroti, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Eighteen-year-old Doreen Ikima is a happy mother after spending three months in Soroti Regional Referral Hospital. Ikima was admitted in the maternity ward of Soroti Regional Referral Hospital in October last year with pre-eclampsia and severe anemia.
After treatment, Ikima remained in the ward, wondering where to go next. When another patient was put on her bed, Ikima walked out for some hours but returned in the evening and found herself lying on the floor. Some people mistook her for a mental case until a nurse picked interest to speak with her. It was later realized that Ikima had been ejected from home.
Both her husband and family rejected her after conceiving. Alice Grace Epaku, the in charge maternity ward, says the mother was stressed, which made her appear to be mentally ill. She explained that after assessing her condition, Ikima was allowed to stay in the ward.
Members of staff volunteered to feed and treat her in the hospital until she gave birth on Monday. On Wednesday, members of the staff donated clothes and cash to see Ikima reunited with her family in Omodoi. According to Epaku, they at least receive a mother who has been ejected by her family each quarter. Most of the affected are teens who conceive from school.
Ikima told URN that she was sexually abused at the age of 10 by her relative who infected her with HIV. She explained that she lost her parents when she was very young and was forced to stay with relatives but the situation forced her to relocate to Soroti town to look for some petty jobs for survival.
While in town, Ikima met the father of her child, Dickson Katwalo but the relationship lasted just few days before the she was thrown to the streets. She says her condition deteriorated because she had no food or shelter for herself.
She is so grateful to the hospital management for enabling her live longer because to her, she would have been dead if it wasn’t for the hospital and kind staff.
Epaku says that abandoned mothers are sometimes referred to social workers in the hospital for counseling and support while in the hospital.
In 2014, Soroti Hospital management conducted an operation that saw people regarded as idlers arrested and sent away from the hospital premises.
The operation followed congestion in the hospital where some people were said to be taking shelter in the wards.