Oyam: Girl, 8, fights for her life as broke family can’t afford heart surgery


A teen girl needs kind support.
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Lira – A vulnerable family from Alidi, Loro sub-county, Oyam South in Oyam district is stuck with an eight year old daughter who is in dire need of a heart surgery.

The family told TND News that they intend to have their teen daughter operated at the Uganda Heart Institute in Mulago, Kampala, adding that they are “too poor to afford the cost of the operation”.

Doctors discovered that Linda Acan has a hole in her heart in 2018, according to Fred Oyite, her father.

Mr Oyite says the heart institute is demanding close to shillings 19 million to conduct a heart surgery on her daughter.

He further added that they have raised some little money after selling a piece of land in the village. He reveals that the money realized from land’s sale has already been spent on drugs which he regularly buys to try to stabilize the condition of the child.

According to Kidshealth.org , an atrial septal defect (ASD) — sometimes called a hole in the heart — is a type of congenital heart defect in which there is an abnormal opening in the dividing wall between the upper filling chambers of the heart (the atria).

In most cases, ASDs are diagnosed and treated successfully with few or no complications.

Inside a healthy heart. Courtesy photo.

According to Dr Max Okwir who’s attending to the six teen at Lira regional referral hospital, says Uganda Heart Institute [UHI] has waived off 50%.

“I have talked to a cardiologist at UHI and i have a confirmation that she will be okay after surgery. The total amount is Uganda shillings 18.7 million, for everything,” Dr Max added.

What happens in an Atrial Septal Defect?

In an atrial septal defect, there’s an opening in the wall (septum) between the atria. As a result, some oxygenated blood from the left atrium flows through the hole in the septum into the right atrium, where it mixes with oxygen-poor blood and increases the total amount of blood that flows toward the lungs.

The increased blood flow to the lungs creates a swishing sound, known as a heart murmur. The murmur, along with other specific heart sounds, often is the first tip-off to a doctor that a child has an ASD. ASDs can be located in different places on the atrial septum and can vary in size

Teen ‘helpless’

Linda Achan is currently ‘helpless’ at Lira Regional Referral hospital and on oxygen to try to help her breath as her parents and relatives struggle to raise money to save her life with a surgery.

Oyite who is now worried of her daughter, says cardiac experts have told him that the condition would be difficult to correct once his daughter clocks nine years and above.

He is now appealing to well-wishers to try to help him raise the required funds.

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