Mary Gahoire is a 45 year old mother of 6 children from Hoima District. She is one of our first beneficiary for the radiotherapy treatment for cervical cancer at Aga Khan University Hospital, Nairobi supported by the Road to Care Programme.
In February, 2016 Mary experienced virginal bleeding for several days. This prompted her to visit Hoima Regional Hospital where the doctors upon examination, suspected cervical cancer and they immediately got from her a biopsy for histology tests in Kampala.
Mary however didn’t have the money to pay for the tests and came to Little Hospice Hoima for support. HAU took this up and met the costs for the histology tests done in Kampala and result confirmed that she had cervical cancer which had progressed to stage IIb. This meant it had progressed beyond surgical level and needed chemotherapy and radiotherapy which could only be done in Kampala.
This was hard news for Mary and her family because they had heard and known of community members who had passed on from the same condition. However, for Mary her hope was that HAU would support her to get treatment at Mulago Hospital under the Road to Care program cancer patients are transported and supported to stay in Kampala during their treatment period at Mulago.
Hospice Africa Uganda referred Mary to Mulago for radiotherapy/Chemo and helped facilitate her immediate travel. Despite the disease already being in advanced stages, Mary didn’t get urgent attention at Mulago due to the high number of patients who were in the queue waiting for treatment. She spent there a whole month and was unfortunately sent back home and given a one moth’s appointment.
While Mary was waiting for her time to return to Mulago, the most unfortunate thing happened, the breakdown of the only radiotherapy machine in Uganda. This shattered Mary’s hopes of ever getting treatment for ailment. “I felt bad, got so discouraged in life and thought what awaited me was death.”
Luckily for Mary, Road to Care program agreed to support her treatment at the Aga Khan University Hospital in Nairobi and this would include the cost of chemotherapy, radiotherapy, travel, accommodation, and feeding for the entire period including a caretaker.
On March 23rd, 2016 HAU facilitated Mary and three other patients to Nairobi for the radiotherapy and chemo treatments. The treatments went on very well with really mild side effects. She completed all the treatment cycles and returned after 12 weeks.
This is what Mary said upon her return from Nairobi;
“When I first got to know I had stage II cancer, I became so worried and didn’t know I would be able to get the required treatment because I didn’t have the money. I am so glad that I got this opportunity. I am now well” adding:
“I thank Hospice (Africa Uganda) so much for sponsoring our treatment, travel and stay in Nairobi. I pray that they continue with this kind of support to help other women suffering from cancer”
Mary is still being monitored and supported by Hospice Africa Uganda through its day care program to ensure she recovers well and is well rehabilitated.