Before you travel, have these medical tests done

Mercy Chance’s dream was to study and secure a good future for her family. A heart disease, however, has shattered this dream, and the little hope the 14-year-old Senior One student has left, is dependent on her recovery.Though doctors say her heart condition could have started when she was two, Chance’s family has no history of the disease and when she fell ill, no one suspected it was a heart condition. Her mother Stella Alitiru took her to hospital with the belief that it was a simple problem that would be fixed easily. But to her surprise, Chance was diagnosed with heart disease.

“She fails to breathe properly and sometimes she feels so much pain which prevents her from missing lessons for days, says Alitiru, adding: “She sits quietly most of the time but has been undergoing pain internally and experiences body swellings.”

The state of her heart The medical examinations indicate that Chance’s left valve is weak and needs surgery after a serious review of her condition. Chance was first admitted to Kuluva hospital in Arua and then later referred to Uganda Heart Institute, Mulago. “My daughter was born normally without any heart problem but now this has been discovered and we were to go to Mulago heart institute but there is actually no money,” she says.

Dr Hillary Pariyo, the medical superintendent of Kuluva Hospital says the girl experiences body swelling, palpitations and nocturnal cough. He recommends review and surgery for Chance in order for her to recovery normal breathing.

On their first visit to the heart institute, Dr Emmy Okello, a cardiologist noted that Chance has a dilated left atrium, and a thickened mitral valve with severe mitral regurgitation.

“There is also severe pulmonary hypertension but other valves are normal.” Dr Okello says Chance could be suffering from Rheumatic heart disease. Unfortunately, Chance has not gone back for review due to financial constraints.

The family does not have any other income activity apart from what Alitiru earns as a teacher. Alitiru and Chance have been to Mulago hospital thrice and spent Shs600,000 on transport and accommodation. Unfortunately the drugs were too expensive for them to buy. A set of some of the drugs which are supposed to be taken monthly costs Shs60,000.

The cost of the surgery has not yet been ascertained. When Alitiru failed to secure money to meet consultation, surgery fees and cater for them at Mulago hospital, she decided to continue giving her daughter drugs in consultation with Kuluva hospital doctors. The family had to sell some household items at some point to buy drugs.

Chance, a first born is seeking help from well-wishers so that she can get a second chance to live and achieve her dreams.

SOURCE: Daily Monitor

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