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Teenage cancer patient stranded at Gulu Regional Referral Hospital

Flavia Acayo was diagonised with bone cancer. Courtesy photo

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | A teenage girl is stranded at Gulu Regional Referral Hospital following the failure by her mother to raise Shillings 700,000 for her referral to Uganda Cancer Institute-UCI.

Flavia Acayo, a primary seven pupil of Pakia primary school and resident of Koch Lii in Nwoya district was admitted at Gulu Regional Referral Hospital on Tuesday with a swollen right limb.

The teenager who was wreathing in pain told URN that the condition started early this year with simple pain in her right leg as she was returning home.

Her mother Evelyn Akello says the pain progressed very fast prompting her to rush the teenager to St. Mary’s Hospital in March which referred her Uganda Cancer Institute for treatment.

Akello says that she returned home hoping to get money to support the treatment of her daughter only to be affected by the Covid-19 lockdown.

She only managed to deliver the girl to Gulu Regional Referral Hospital on Tuesday with the help of community members who raised Shillings 30,000 for transport.

“Dr. asked if i had 700,000 Shillings for treatment at UCI. But i am a widow who hardly gets food for the other children. It’s painful that am losing my first born to cancer,” Akello said.

She appealed for financial support from well-wishers to help her treat her child saying her efforts have failed to yield results.

Dr. Joshua Wacha, a medical officer at Gulu Regional Referral Hospital says Acayo has been diagnosed with bone cancer.

“This is a fast-growing cancer which requires urgent medical attention but unfortunately we don’t have the services here,” Dr. Wacha said.

Adding that, “the condition of that nature requires cutting off of the limb to avoid infection from spreading up in other parts of the body.”

Dr. Wacha revealed that they receive 5 cases of different cancers on a monthly basis most of them in advanced stage.

“The problem here is that most people in this region begin treating cancer with local remedies. They report late to the health facility when we can’t be of much help,” Dr. Wacha said.

Dr.Francis Okongo, a palliative care specialist at Lacor hospital and coordinator Gulu cancer registry expressed concern about the increasing cancer cases in the region affecting more than 1,320 people.

He identified the most predominant cancer infections in children as cancer of the lymphatic system that accounts for 80% followed by cervical cancer at 58% and prostate cancer at 20%.

He appealed for intensified cancer awareness campaigns if the region is to get rid of cancer infections and its burden in the community.



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