Monday June 30 2014

Heart patient needs Shs31m for surgery

Benson Agaba has a heart condition that requires surgery in India

Benson Agaba has a heart condition that requires surgery in India. He hopes he can undergo surgery and return to school thereafter. Photo by Robert Muhereza 

By Robert Muhereza

It all started in 2007 when Benson Agaba, then a Primary Three pupil, dropped out of school because of a prolonged illness that could not allow him concentrate in class.

Agaba, 16, says he used to experience frequent body weakness and chest pain. “I stopped going to school because of the pain. Sometimes I even fail to sleep or eat,” he explains.
According to his father, 65-year-old Benon Sabiiti, a resident of Kijuguta Northern Division in Kabale Town, when Agaba’s health started to deteriorate, they had no idea what was happening to him.

“His right arm started to shake endlessly. He could not write at school, so it made it difficult for him to continue with his education. Then I took him to Kabale Regional Referral Hospital in October 2007, where he was admitted for a week. His condition did not improve,” says Sabiiti.
It was from Kabale hospital that Agaba was further referred to Mbarara Regional Referral Hospital, where he was then diagnosed with a heart problem.

No money for drugs
“I was advised to buy drugs that would cost Shs50,000 per month to ease the pain my son is going through. I managed to buy the drugs for about a year and then I ran out of money.

Now I cannot afford it anymore yet my son is still in pain,” says Sabiiti. According to Dr George Muhindo of the Heart Clinic at Mbarara hospital,
Agaba has a rheumatic heart disease, which will require surgery.

Rheumatic heart disease is a condition caused by rheumatic fever and occurs mostly in childhood. He says Fortis Heart Institute in New Dehli, India, is the recommended health facility where such a surgery can be done.

“This will cost $12,000 (about Shs31m) and this will include the cost of a return air ticket,” explains Dr Muhindo.
However, Agaba’s parents say they are unable to raise this money and are now asking for Good Samaritans to help.

But as they await any financial help, Sabiiti says his son’s condition keeps deteriorating by the day, to the extent that he cannot stand unsupported.

The illness has also made him lose appetite for food, and has become visibly malnourished.

Agaba on his part hopes he can find the necessary help to ease his pain, and then return to school after the surgery.
“I hope I can go back to school and be with my friends after I get well. That has always been my prayer,” he says.

How to help

A bank account number, 0141091781900, Crane Bank Kabale Branch has been opened in the name of Benson Agaba, where well-wishers can make a contribution.
You can also call Dr A. Muhunde on 0772872026 or Richard Shaka on 0772700363 to make a contribution.