Over 100 get free surgery in Mayuge

By Charles Kakamwa

The week long exercise was done by physicians from Nsambya Hospital in Kampala

For more than four years, Godfrey Kalema endured pain caused by a swelling on his forehead.

He visited a number of health units without much success as he could not afford the money required for treatment.

"At one of the hospitals, I was asked to pay sh400,000 for treatment but it was too much for me," said the 30-year-old peasant and resident of Bugodi village, Baitambogwe Sub County in Mayuge district.

However, all this came to pass as Kalema got relief after receiving a free operation at St. Francis Hospital Buluba in Mayuge.

"I now feel relieved, I would like to appreciate the doctors and all well-wishers for such a kind gesture," a visibly excited Kalema said after a successful surgery on Friday.

Kalema was among over 120 patients who received surgery and treatment at a free surgical camp organized by Hope Institute Uganda, a non-government organization in conjunction with St. Francis Hospital Buluba.

The week long exercise was done by physicians from Nsambya Hospital in Kampala, their counterparts from Wisconsin in the USA supported by colleagues from Buluba Hospital.

According to Dr. Patricia Garner, a general surgeon who headed the medical team from Wisconsin, most common cases handled involved patients with hernia, goitre and lumps. There was also a team of gynaecologists attending to women.

Garner attributed the high incidence of hernia to a tendency by some people to do manual work while she said goitre is caused by iron deficiency in the body.

Dr. Isaac Mubezi, from Nsambya Hospital noted that majority of patients who benefitted from the surgical camp were needy people, without any hope for getting treatment.

He however expressed disappointment that some of the medical equipment that was being brought in to help in management of health cases, were confiscated at Entebbe International Airport.

"The number of people treated could have been more than this but we decided to limit the number because some equipment was confiscated," he regretted.

Hope Institute Uganda started by Joy and Gideon Ngobi who are Ugandans living in the US has so far conducted six such camps in Uganda.

Ngobi said it was a way through which they help those with health concerns but with no means to access treatment.

He added that funding for the camps is got through donations by well-wishers and the doctors themselves.