It is not clear how the hundreds of Ugandans and family members who generously contributed to Cancer patient Carol Atuhairwe will feel about the latest developments about her situation. This comes after a review by the team of experts from the Uganda Cancer Institute (UCI) and their colleagues from the United States who had offered to operate on Carol said they can no longer do it.
Cancer experts from UCI have decided therefore that Atuhairwe will not be flown to the United States of America for an operation for now, as earlier planned but that she instead will be put on alternative medication as another international cancer facility that can handle Carol’s situation is sought.
In a statement signed by the Director General of Health Services in the Ministry of Health, Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng, Experts from Uganda Cancer Institute working with visiting surgeons from the United States resolved to have Carol continue getting treatment from Mulago because of the delicate nature of her condition.
The statement said that: “Information from the Cancer Institute where Carol has been receiving treatment for the last two years, indicates that a multidisciplinary team of Uganda Cancer Institute (UCI) meeting with the visiting surgeons Dr. Chad Zender from Cleveland Ohio and Prof. James Netterville from Venderbilt University Tennessee agreed that it was less risky to handle her condition at the Uganda Cancer Institute currently and requires close care as her condition is very delicate.”
The Ministry denied it had frustrating efforts to have Atuhairwe sent to the US by delibertely delaying paper work.
“Working closely with Atuhairwe’s family, alternative medication has been suggested and this will be administered for an indefinite period depending on the response after which further options could be explored on re-evaluation,” said Aceng.
Dr. Aceng’s statement had a whiff of bad news to it, suggesting perhaps that Carol’s condition might have degenerated, which forced the American surgeons to withdraw from their earlier commitment.
Aceng said: “Since the initial medical team from the USA can no longer carry out surgery on Carol, the institute is working on finding an alternative health facility which can ably handle her case. Once this is secured, her request for referral will then be generated and forwarded to the Medical Board.”
On Tuesday, ministry of health officials met with their cancer experts at the Uganda Cancer Institute where it is believed the decision to keep Carol at UCI for the time being was reached.
Atuhairwe’s worrying situation came to the public limelight after the traditional and social media platforms started a fund-raising drive to mobilise for her treatment in the US. The drive solicited over Ushs270m, far more than what had initially been required.
Aceng pledged the Ministry’s continued support to finding Carol’s situation.