Stranded expectant mother rescued by boda boda after failing to secure ambulance

Friday April 03 2020

Transport barter payment. Nuru and her attendant travelling on a Boda after getting clearance from the RDC. Photo by Sam Caleb Opio

An expectant mother of twins, who was referred to Kamuli District General hospital, is stranded following restrictions on movement in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Her situation is further worsened by her husband being locked away in Ngora, Teso Sub-region, also over travel restrictions, where he had reportedly gone to introduce his son and heir apparent to clan members for ancestral land ownership.
Ms Nuru Baluka, 38, a mother-of-seven and resident of Nansololo Zone, Namasagali Sub-county in Kamuli district, was referred to the General Hospital from Namasagali Health Centre after she developed complications but had to sleep in the facility (Namasagali).
Later, as her situation worsened, her sister-in-law, Ms Aisha Akurut, called into a radio talk show in which the Resident District Commissioner (RDC), Mr Moses Dumba, was being hosted, saying she has a patient and needed clearance.
“The RDC said an ambulance would be dispatched to pick us up but we were later told that the ambulance had instead gone to Buzaaya to pick up some suspected Covid-19 patients,” Ms Akurut narrated.
Scared of travelling in an ambulance that had carried suspected Covid-19 patients, they hired a boda boda cyclist on condition that they mortgaged their goat as transport fare.
At Kamuli General Hospital, she was asked to go for an ultrasound scan at Go Fine Clinic which showed she was carrying twins.
The boda boda cyclist then offered to pay for the scan in exchange for a sack of sliced potatoes.

"We had no choice and couldn’t bargain with life and resorted to barter trade,” Ms Baluka said after getting a transport permit from the RDC.
Ms Baluka's first born is in Senior One at Irundu Scondary School, and her due date, according to the scan, is June 11.

As a result, she has been advised to keep in constant touch with health facilities to see that her condition is monitored.