Monday January 20 2014

Baby needs help for heart surgery

Miriam Atukwase carries her son Arthur Kimara who has a hole in his heart.

Miriam Atukwase carries her son Arthur Kimara who has a hole in his heart. He needs about Shs60m for an operation in India. photo by stephen okello. 

By Julius Ocungi & Winny Acayo

When you look at 10-month-old Athur Kimara, one can barely imagine the pain he goes through every day. Kimara was born prematurely at seven months at Gulu Regional Referral Hospital where doctors discovered that he had a birth defect. But even with that, doctors thought early treatment would help in his recovery.

At the hospital, Kimara was closely monitored by a heart specialist who had hoped the holes in his heart could close before they were discharged from hospital, but that was not the case.
Miriam Atukwase, Kimara’s mother explains that her son’s condition instead deteriorated when they returned home. “My son developed pneumonia and severe cough. He lost weight and had a low appetite. His breath and pulses also became faster than normal,” she says.

In February last year, Atukwase decided to go to Lacor Hospital, from where a scan conducted that showed Kimara had a condition called ventricular septal defect (VSD)
However, another scan conducted in December at Gulu Regional Referral Hospital showed that Kimara had what is known as double outlet right ventricle (DORV)

According to Dr Hope Kusasira of Gulu Regional Referral Hospital,
DORV is a form of congenital heart disease where both of the great arteries connect (in whole or in part) to the right ventricle (RV). “In some cases, this condition occurs on the left side of the heart rather than the right side,” says Dr Kusasira. He adds that DORV occurs in multiple forms, with variability of great artery position and size, as well as of ventricular septal defect (VSD) location.

Dr Kusasira says the clinical manifestations are similarly variable, depending on how the defects affect the physiology of the heart, in terms of altering the normal flow of blood from the right left ventricle, to the aorta and pulmonary artery. Dr Kusasira further says DORV is a rare heart disease among children, and occurs in two out of 100 births. According to him, the condition can be easily corrected with early surgery that involves closing the open hole on the wall of the heart. If the heart is left open over a long period of time, he says this may lead to early death.

Dr Kusasira, however, advises pregnant women to seek early antenatal care as habits such as smoking or drinking alcohol can be a risk factor for such complications in babies. Atukwase, a single mother says her child’s condition is worrying because it has been deteriorating.

She says she has no means of taking care of the child and his medical needs.
Doctors say Kimara’s condition can be corrected with surgery from India, but about Shs60 million is needed to do that. “I am appealing to well-wishers and good Samaritans to help me since I cannot raise all this money,” says Atukwase.

To help Miriam Atukwase, call 07732437224 or 0772700261. You can also deposit financial contributions through account number 0114471210000 under Housing Finance Bank-Gulu branch.