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STIGMA: My husband abandoned me and my Hydrocephalus child

Noeline Namata holds his son. (PHOTO/SARAH)

ENTEBBE – “When my husband realized that I have given birth to a child with Hydrocephalus, he ran away from me and switched off his phone”

That is how Noeline Namata 30, a resident of Nakiwogo in Entebbe Municipality narrates her story.

Ms. Namata says that the father of the affected child Achienge Mitchell is of Kenyan origin and his name is Vincent Odour Odyambo.

She recalls that before the affected child’s birth, the couple was so in love but what shocked her the most was how he quickly abandoned her after she had delivered the handicapped child as a result of Hydrocephalus.

She adds that in giving birth, her child was as normal as other kids but after a short while, the head started swelling until it was beyond the normal size.

Alarmed by her child’s plight Ms Namata sought medical consultation to find out what her daughter was suffering from.

That’s when a doctor told her the bitter truth, that her baby had a disease called Hydrocephalus she was heartbroken but nevertheless went back home and told the husband about that disease. She would comfort her she says

To her dismay, he just packed his personal possessions and left the house.  It is now two long years ever since he deserted her, he has never set foot in their marital home ever since he departed abruptly and to make matters worse he switched off all his contacts, leaving no trace.

This is the plight of most women in Uganda, East Africa and across the globe who face the daily pain of fending for their stigmatised offsprings who are usually deserted by their fathers due to the fear of

Noeline adds that even her husband’s relatives have also disowned her child arguing that they do not give birth to children with big heads their paternal family is deeply rooted in superstition which is a common perception for many African tribes.

So according to the child’s paternal family her child is a curse, which is deeply painful for the mother to contend with.

Ms Namata says she is financially constrained having spent so much money seeking treatment for her needy child.

Hydrocephalus is only treated in specialised hospitals like Mbale district which is very far and the medication is very expensive.

“Travelling with my son is tiresome because he is so heavy and people in a taxi do not want to sit next to me.” Namata narrates her ordeal.

She also expressed her disappointment saying people should stop discriminating children with Hydrocephalus because they are also human beings.

She continues to say that what hurts her alot is her son to be there without knowing any relative since they termed her as a curse.

“I try to do some little work to fulfill needs of my child though I have some other 4 normal children.”

Noeline says, discriminating her child does not only stop on the husband’s relatives but also in hospitals and schools where she takes him.

She reveals that he is usually discriminated against in many public places which she finds very offensive.

“It hurts me” she says “this is the same situation that other parents who have children in a similar situation go through on a daily basis.”

She says that most of the help was given to her by Mbabazi the founder of Hydrocephalus and Spinabifida initiative in Entebbe.

She expresses her gratitude to and called upon people to continue helping them because even patience doesn’t have enough help since she has a lot of infected children to take care of them.

When PML approached Mbabazi, she said that the biggest challenge that women face is their husbands to run away from them after realizing that they have given birth to Hydrocephalus infected children.

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