How readersand#039 donations saved a childand#039s heart

For Peter Katuwa and Doreen Karungi, residents of Buziga, a Kampala suburb, the Shs4m required for their son’s heart operation seemed like a fantasy.

With only days away from the crucial surgery, which was scheduled for November 10, the cash-strapped couple made an appeal for public support through the Daily Monitor.

As the pair watch their playful one-year-old son Peter Twesige, they recall how fast the donations came in from people they had never met, who simply sent them contributions via mobile money.

With the donations, the couple was able to pay all the costs for their baby’s heart operation which was done at Mulago hospital.

“We have bought all the required medication and paid all our bills. We owe nothing,” says Karungi, the boy’s mother.

According to the latest review, Twesige has recovered well after the surgery and save for the requirement for periodic health checks, he has been given a clean bill of health.

For this, Twesige’s parents are grateful to all members of the public who responded to their call for help with generous contributions.

Background to the case

From the day he was born, Twesige had suffered difficulty in breathing and five days after his birth, he was taken to Mulago hospital where he received treatment for pneumonia for a month, but with no improvement.

At the Uganda Heart Institute, where his parents were referred to seek better treatment, the doctors found out he had coarctation of the aorta.

“We were then referred to Uganda Heart Institute at Mulago where the doctor said he had a heart condition in which the large blood vessel that branches to the heart is very narrow,” explained his mother, Doreen Karungi.

She added, “The doctors explained that the aorta delivers oxygen-rich blood to the body so if it is narrow, the heart must pump harder to force blood through the narrow part of the aorta.”

From September 2014, Twesige was put on a drug regimen to treat his heart. When his heart could not cope with the medication anymore, a surgery was scheduled.

As the recommended operation drew near, the couple could not raise the required Shs4m to pay for it.

Doctors had warned of dire consequences if the operation was not done on time. There was a risk that the boy’s heart could stop.

Thankfully, the money required for the operation came in time and Peter Twesige is now a jolly, active child whose breathing problems seem like a distant memory.