By Benon Tugumisirize
At six years, Gilbert Lukwago is supposed to be having a good time with his playmates. But for the last five years, Lukwago has been dull and spends most of his time crying. Lukwago was declared blind after being diagnosed at Ruharo Hospital in Mbarara.
His mother broke down as she narrated the story.
Josephine Kokugonza, a resident of Ggobe zone, Bunamwaya in Wakiso district and a single mother of two, told New VIsion that her son has gradually become blind after being injected with quinine.
Lukwago, according to Kokugonza, was born normal on January 27, 2007.
But at the age of 11 months, he suffered from malaria and was taken to one of the hospitals in Kampala where he fell in the hands of what the mother called his ‘tormentors’.
Kokugonza battled tears when she said that she could not believe when she recently learnt from eye specialists that her only son may never regain his sight.
“I shed tears every time I look at my blind son. I tried to stop the nurse and she insisted."
A nurse injected her son with quinine in the upper right shoulder and she [Kokugonza] was abused when she complained. The nurse stubbornly injected her son and advised her to take the patient back to the hospital the following day to get another quinine shot.
Since the child had not been admitted at the hospital, she rushed him to Rubaga Hospital, where he was given further treatment.
Little Lukwago recovered from malaria, but gradually lost his vibrancy. He was no longer playing with his agemates, but instead was sleepy and always crying.
His mother noticed that there was a serious problem until she was advised to take him to Ruharo Eye Centre in Mbarara, where it was discovered that her son had become blind.
According to Kokugonza, Dr. Claudia, an expatriate, told her that quinine had damaged the boy’s brain.
Dr. Claudia said the boy’s visual recovery may take long and that he needed to be treated with the help of therapeutic measures.
Kokugonza said the medical expert advised that the boy’s room and the bed be decorated with multicoloured disco lights to awaken the dormant brain. He told her to take the boy to Dr. Byarugaba of Mulago Hospital.
At the national referral health facility, Dr. Byarugaba gave Lukwago treatment and reassured them that the child would gradually regain his sight as he grows.
But later, the doctor referred them to another medic, a physiotherapist in Bukoto who later referred them to Katalemwa Cheshire Home where they have been getting physiotherapy services.
Kokugonza, who was a businesswoman selling second-hand clothes, says she has spent all the little money she had in the last six years and calls upon any well-wisher for assistance.
She said on July 27 last year, she took her son to Mengo Hospital eye department where she was advised to get trial glasses for him. But she could not raise the money for the glasses.
She added that the son now needs a wheelchair since he can neither walk nor see. But she has no money to buy the wheelchair.
Boy battles for life after reacting to anti-malarials