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Spare a thought this Christmas

Sitting on a wooden bench at Mbuya Nehanda Maternity Hospital ward, groaning with pain following a caesarean section to deliver her fourth baby, Fiona Mahuni should be celebrating but she is not.

Fiona (37) has just been discharged. Although she was lucky to even have been afforded health care at a time when the patient’s plight has been worsened by the doctor’s strike among a myriad of challenges, Fiona’s feeling is bitter-sweet.

She feels happy to have been blessed with a baby but has no money to travel back home. So she is being kept in a side-ward in the maternity hospital until she gets money to travel home.

The mother-of-four from Zvenyika village under Chief Nyamutsa, Buhera faces a myriad of challenges that has come with the illness of her third child, Deploy, who has been hospitalised at Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals for five months now.

The four-year-old boy was diagnosed with brain tumour and his condition is deteriorating each day and the cost of medication has drained the already impoverished family, financially.

All she wants this Christmas is healing for the boy whose condition is deteriorating as well as bus fare to travel to Buhera.

Deploy who is battling brain tumour at Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals

“Deploy has been in hospital for five months after he was diagnosed with brain tumour and his condition is fast deteriorating. He has since lost sight, cannot walk or sit. His bowels can no longer hold any food and he vomits on every feed.

“I have been discharged but I cannot go home as I do not have money. My husband has already travelled from Buhera to be with Deploy so he is the one who will take care of him as I nurse the baby at home.

‘‘I wish I could stay and nurse both Deploy and the baby but I have been told that it is not healthy for a new born to stay in hospital,” she says.

She just gave birth to a bubbling baby boy yet she is not really celebrating, she had even initially named the new-born, Nhamo translated as poverty and later changed the name to Anesu (He is with us). Yes she has a new born baby amid all these challenges, she has the right to procreate even if she is poor, doesn’t she?

“I had named him Nhamo given all that I have been through but I have decided that Anesu be his name because God has been with me in all these challenges.

“You will not believe that I did not know that I was pregnant until last month. Even people in the village will be surprised to hear that I gave birth. I have been in hospital for the last five months with Deploy and when I got sick last month, initially the nurses suspected it could be fatigue due to the sleepless nights that I have endured while nursing Deploy.

“To my surprise, a test revealed that I was pregnant with the scan saying I was 8-months pregnant. So I had nothing in terms of the preparation for this baby.

‘‘The nurses from ward A2 helped me and their support has been overwhelming, they gave me all the baby clothes. They provided me with everything including the diapers that I’m using. It has been such a miracle and I think Anesu is a befitting name,” adds Fiona.

But it is Deploy’s condition that is giving her sleepless nights as he keeps deteriorating each day.

While it is Government policy to provide free-of-charge health care service for children under the age of five like Deploy, the current prevailing situation in the country has seen Fiona and her husband, Isaac Neshumba buying every prescribed medication as the hospital pharmacy does not have.

An informed source at the hospital confirmed that the family indeed needed funding support for medication and also to support the boy’s nutrition that is set to compliment treatment.

“The boy will start radiotherapy (to shrink the large brain) this coming week as the brain scan has already been done. There is need to compliment this treatment with natural foods and the parents cannot afford his nutritional needs.

“At least $3 000 is needed to support this boy’s medical and nutritional needs as you know that the country is facing challenges when it comes to medicines. So while he is supposed to get free treatment, the hospital has no medication and the parents have to buy.”

Fiona and Isaac are peasant farmers in Buhera and they are struggling to cater for the medication costs for Deploy with some medicines requiring US dollars.

“That has been our greatest challenge and we are struggling. We had organisations like KidsCan helping but we are still struggling to cater for the medical costs.

“I have been told that they will not be operating on him as initially suggested but he will go for radiotherapy and the first session is due next week.”

So while you worry about what you will eat this Christmas, your Christmas holiday destination, the clothes, please spare a thought for this mother-of-four who does not only have money to travel back home following her discharge but is also grappling to raise medication funds for her son.

As you celebrate Christmas, kindly spare a thought for Fiona and her four-year-old boy.

source: the herald

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