Woman bedridden 15 years with strange illness

Amat Naigaga (Left), who has spent 15 years bedridden due to a mysterious illness is seen supported to sit by her grandmother Jessica Nakalende at home in Kakoge ‘B’ village, Busembatia Town Vouncil, Bugweri District on March 2, 2024. PHOTO/RONALD SEEBE

What you need to know:

  • She was also abandoned by her biological parents. 

A 35-year-old woman in Bugweri District has spent 15 years bedridden, battling a mysterious disease.

Amat Naigaga, who can only speak, but can neither walk nor sit upright on her bed or feed herself, says her sickness started in 2005 when she was in Primary Five.

“It started with a “joint pain in my right hand”, which later got paralysed in 2007, followed by my right leg, which also got paralysed in 2009, rendering me unable to walk, even with support,” she said at the weekend.

Naigaga, who was with her 75-year-old grandmother Jessica Nakalende added that around June 2009, she was taken to Nsinze health centre IV in Namutumba District for medical examination, but doctors referred her to Mulago national referral hospital after finding “nothing”.

“In September 2009, we travelled to Mulago Hospital and nothing was seen, but just as I was exiting the hospital gate while being carried on my grandmother’s shoulders, a man offered to drive us to Annah Grace Medical Centre in Kampala for more laboratory tests and footed my medical bill,” she explained.

According to Naigaga, for the next three days she spent at Annah Medical Centre under the watchful eyes of doctors, further tests and medical examinations still revealed “nothing.”

Since returning home in 2009, Amat says she has been confined to her bed.

“My whole body is now paralysed, having spent 15 years without going out of the house. I cannot walk or sit upright on the bed. Instead, I feel too much pain in the joints, and sometimes the pain gets to the right-hand side of my heart,” she adds.

Nakalende says her granddaughter started complaining of “joint pain” aged 8.

“Whenever she returned home from school, she cried of joint pain, but we did not take it seriously, and had no idea that it was going to paralyse her entire body,” Nakalende said, adding that “Naigaga was abandoned by her parents.”

“At 75 years, I am her mother and father. I don’t have money, and the last time we visited a hospital was in 2009, which is now 15 years ago,” she told Monitor.

“We visited hospitals, herbalists and pastors, but she is not healing. 15 years is too much time for someone to be on the bed without moving out to see sunlight,” she added.

Dr Stephen Mwase, who has since retired but worked at Nsinze health centre IV, however, appeals to the girl’s family to return her to Mulago Hospital for another medical examination.

“Yes, I know the girl and have visited her more than four times. It is true her body got paralysed and she can neither feel anything nor lift her leg or hand unless when supported,” Dr Mwase said.

He added: “When you touch her body, she feels pain especially in the joints. So, it could be something to do with her bone marrow.”

Kakoge ‘B’ village vice chairperson Rogers Siminyu expressed concern that Naigaga lacks proper treatment and feeding to heal.

“…the family lacks support to take her for further management. Hunger is also going to kill her because the grandmother lacks what to feed her sick granddaughter,” he said.

“She is being helped by neighbours who give her what to eat and not on a daily basis. If we can get some help, in the form of taking her to hospital for further examination and feeding her on a balanced diet, she will heal because she is still strong,” Siminyu observed.