KAMPALA. When NTV went on air eight years ago, Rosemary Nankabirwa graced our screens. The beautiful, tall, brown and slender girl always read the 9pm news with Maurice Mugisha.
She later left the station for London where she was reported to have gone for further studies. Towards the end of last year, rumours started making the rounds that she was back to Uganda and battling cancer.
This rumour was later confirmed. Ms Nankabirwa is suffering from adrenal cortical carcinoma–a disease caused by a cancerous growth in the adrenal gland. The family, however, preferred to keep the matter out of the public eye until early this week when Florence Naluyimba, NTV’s health reporter announced that the family needed financial help.
In this regard, NTV has started a fundraising drive, #HelpRosemary, to raise funds. The money collected is meant to help Nankabirwa get specialised treatment at Aga Khan Hospital in Nairobi. She underwent surgery in January, however, it came with complications.
“An operation was done and the tumour removed and tested. Thereafter she started undergoing chemotherapy. As part of the operation, one of her adrenal glands was removed and this led to hormonal imbalance,” Ms Rebecca Kibirige, Nankabirwa’ s mother says.
Dr Henry Bukenya, a general practitioner who is part of the team that has been attending to her at Mulago hospital, says the gland was removed because it was dead and was therefore excreting toxins into the body.
However, when the gland was removed, it led to hormonal imbalance which has led to a series of other complications such as high and low blood pressure. These have kept her in and out of Uganda Cancer Institute and the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of the Heart Institute at Mulago.
Apart from the hormonal imbalances, Dr Bukenya says the cancer has taken over the entire breast region and is spreading towards the heart. “This is life-threatening because the heart is a delicate part of the body. There are, however, chances of survival because her type of cancer can be cured. The only problem is that there was late diagnosis,” he said.
The family was trying to manage her condition from Mulago but Ms Kibirige says the Cancer Institute is not self-sufficient yet they need specialised physicians and equipment. “For example when her condition deteriorated, she was taken to the heart institute ICU because the cancer institute does not have an ICU,” she said.
At the moment, the family is trying to secure a referral letter from Mulago to take her to Aga Khan hospital where they can see an endocrinologist.
An endocrinologist is a trained physician who diagnoses and treats diseases related to glands. Once they have secured the letter, then they will be able to know how long they will need to stay and a quotation of the money they will need to cover the process.
At Aga Khan Hospital, she will have her hormones balanced but also continue undergoing chemotherapy.
According to Ms Agnes Konde, the managing director of NTV, the drive is aimed at raising Shs100 million for the treatment.
Mobile money contributions can be made to Faridah Nakazibwe on 0782649931 and Josephine Karungi on 0776747525. Alternatively, you can send it to Diamond Trust Bank on Kibirige Rebecca’s account number 37329942994.