KAMPALA. Rose Mary Nankabirwa, a pioneer anchor at NTV Uganda, passed on yesterday after a long battle with cancer.
Nankabirwa, 37, had just been transferred to the Aga Khan Hospital in Nairobi, Kenya, for specialised treatment following a spell at the Cancer Institute at Mulago, Kampala, where she was admitted with adrenocortical carcinoma cancer.
“Rosemary Nankabirwa has been pulled off life support. Her family has confirmed that she has passed on. May her soul rest in peace,” an NTV statement said.
NTV had last Saturday spearheaded a fundraising drive to raise money for specialised treatment for Nankabirwa in Kenya. The initiatives, including a car-washing exercise at the Kampala Serena Hotel, raised more than Shs100 million.
Nankabirwa becomes the third media fraternity to pass on in a space of less than three months from cancer-related illnesses. Veteran news anchor Dan Kyazze who passed on in February succumbed to liver cancer while Bbale Francis, who died on April 2 had cancer of the bladder.
Immediately after the death of Nankabirwa was confirmed, condolence messages from media personalities, organisations and people from all walks of life started streaming in.
“She is gone! Off life support. Our beautiful Rose is withered! Cancer claims again,” Ms Florence Naluyimba, a reporter at NTV posted on her social media platform, capturing the mood in the media fraternity.
Opposition Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) posted on its website: “We join the NTV Family and all Ugandans in celebrating the life of our own Rosemary Nankabirwa. This is a life taken too soon but your candle will burn for long because even when she has left us, she will remain an inspiration to the young people of our country.”
NTV news manager Maurice Mugisha with whom they jointly anchored news at the station was equally inconsolable: “I’m lost for words. She was full of life, charming, welcoming, extremely confident, she was a broadcast gem! What a sad day,” Mr Mugisha posted.
“To all who supported Rosemary’s treatment, it wasn’t in vain. You’ve reminded all of us of who we truly are. Good people,” Mr Allan Kasujja of the BBC Newsday programme posted.
Ms Josephine Karungi, a reporter at NTV said: “Thank you for all your support. I believe she is smiling down on you and thinking what wonderful people you all are. I am sad she couldn’t thank you herself.”
She added: “She has rested. The fight against cancer doesn’t end though. We continue doing what we can. All the contributions that came in after will go to the family to help them through this.,”
Until December last year, Nankabirwa had been pursuing a Master degree in Journalism and Communication at the University of London in the United Kingdom. She was unable to complete her studies and returned after she developed complications.
By press time, her body was still lying at Lee Funeral Home in Nairobi.
About the cancer
Adrenocortical carcinoma is a rare disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the outer layer of the adrenal gland. The adrenal glands make important hormones that balance the water and salt in the body keep blood pressure normal, help manage the body’s use of protein, fat, and carbohydrates cause the body to have masculine or feminine characteristics and make hormones that help the body react to stress. Some of the possible signs a lump in the abdomen and pain in the abdomen or back. It can be treated in three ways including surgery to remove the adrenal gland, through radiation therapy (use of high-energy x-rays or other types of radiation to kill cancer cells or keep them from growing) a chemotherapy (use of drugs to stop the growth of cancer cells, either by killing the cells or by stopping them from dividing.)