The mood was exhilarating and celebratory as the staff of Mbarara Regional Referral Hospital (MRRH) welcomed back their Hospital Director, after an absence of over three months.
On Friday morning, at about 10:30 am, in the company of his wife, Dr. Barigye was smartly clad in his usual clinical coat surprised by the staff when he appeared to his staff at the hospital accompanied by his wife.
Dr Barigye had spent several months away after attending the National Women’s Day celebrations presided over by H.E the President of Uganda on the 8th March this year, at Sanga Subcounty Headquarters in Kiruhura district.
“It was after that day that my wife started noticing changes in my daily life routine. I had challenges with waking up in the morning as I felt a bit tired”, he narrated at the Press Conference convened to welcome him to the Hospital.
Narrating his health journey at the Press Conference held in the Hospital Boardroom, he told the Press that he drove to his home in Ishaka and that is when he started to notice something unusual with his health. Dr Barigye returned to Mbarara on Sunday evening. And his wife urged the driver to keep monitoring his health condition. The doctor who saw him initially when he sought medical attention at Mbarara Regional Referral Hospital Dr. John Tebajanga, a Medical Officer in the Private Wing of the Hospital. Dr Tebajanga decided to seek the opinion of Specialist Doctors, Rose Muhindo, a physician, and Prof David Kitya, a Neurosurgeon.
Assessing the condition of Dr Barigye, the two specialists decided to subject Dr Barigye to a Computed Tomography (CT) Scan investigation which showed a swelling in the brain that needed urgent intervention. The two physicians agreed on Dr Barigye’s referral to Mulago National Referral Hospital. At Mulago National Referral Hospital, a repeat CT Scan agreed with what had been shown in MRRH, and after a Magnetic Image Resonance Imaging (MRI) Scan the Neurosurgery team decided that Dr Barigye need neurosurgery to remove the swelling in his brain.
The operation was very successful and Dr Barigye was taken to the Intensive Care Unit for post-operative monitoring, from where he was sent to the High Dependency Unit of the Neurosurgical Ward without any difficulties.
Further tests done to check on the nature of the swelling removed from Dr Barigye’s brain indicated that it was not due to Cancer.
On 23rd April 2023, he was flown to Medicana International Ankara Hospital in Turkey where he has been successfully managed.
Dr Barigye acknowledged the support of his family especially his wife, who has been by his side from the time of illness, admission to Turkey, and return to Uganda and Mbarara Regional Referral Hospital.
He thanked the Government of Uganda, the State House, the Ministry of Health under the stewardship of Hon. Dr Jane Ruth Aceng, and Permanent Secretary Dr Diana Atwine who contributed a lot towards his treatment.
Further, he recognized Mr. Hassan Bassajabalaba’s helping hand. He linked them to the Ugandan envoy of Turkey H.E Ms Nusura Tiperu, who helped to host them and support them throughout their period at the hospital, with minimal impediments.
Malicious death reports.
Responding to journalist’s questions during the presser about the news by Crooze FM of his death while he was still at Mulago, Dr Barigye condemned the abuse of ‘veracity’ a key tenet under the journalism profession. Despite the misleading news, he said he had forgiven Crooze FM and its’ Management.
Ministry of Health speaks
Early last week, Dr Henry Mwebesa, Director General Health Services of the Ministry of Health applauded Mbarara Regional Referral Hospital medical team for conducting thorough diagnostic investigations on Dr Barigye.
While meeting the Hospital administration, Dr. Mwebesa said “As the Ministry of Health, we thank God for the life of our Director, I can’t go back without talking about him. I also appreciate the good work done by the doctors here because, by the time he was referred to Mulago, specialists knew what they were going to do”.
Dr Mwebesa further revealed that Dr. Barigye’s sickness had been scary, but that the Ministry of Health did all that it could to ensure that he got the best care.
“Dr. Barigye is a transformational and hardworking leader. That’s why he was not transferred three years ago. I have not seen him but I have heard that he is back home and that’s good news to us. We thank the Hospital, State House, friends, and relatives who supported him in any way”, he added.
The return of Dr Celestine Barigye took many including his hospital staff and some administrators by surprise as his pictures suddenly took the internet by storm.
Congratulatory messages are as of today still flooding the Hospital’s official social media channels and many other WhatsApp groups.
Sampled WhatsApp Messages
“God is great. Our brother and friend, Dr Barigye Celestine is back and strong” Dr Deus Twesigye, Senior Consultant General Surgeon.
Dickson Mugume, MRRH Clinician posted: “Dr Barigye Celestine is back in office and working. Thank you everyone that prayed for this”.
Juliet Ankunda, Principal Nursing Officer: “Our Director is here, God is great and faithful”.
Dickens Owamaani, M& E Officer, “Welcome back our dear Director. We thank God for your protection”.
“The God we adore is faithful one and God of wonders. He cares for His faithful servants like our dear Dr. Celestine Barigye. In Joshua 1, God tells Joshua “It’s I who command you, be strong and vigilant. Do not be afraid because Yahweh your God is with you wherever you go. Long live our beloved director”, Fr Didas, the MRRH Chaplain posted
Twitter & Facebook messages
Dr Medard Bityekyerezo @bitekyerezomed1: “May Glory be returned to God. Welcome back home Comrade Dr Celestine”.
Annita @anitarita: Well be back Dr Barigye. U a loved.
Dr. Morning Star @DrObAllan: All light for all to see their future.
Baguma John Henry @jbaguma: Thanks for all your efforts. He is a mentor to many.
Good luck Rukatwa Mugabo @GoodluckRukatwa: Praise be to God.
Described by many as a result-centered man whose actions are spoken by tangible infrastructures he alongside the administration championed at a 93-year-old institution now eyed as a center of excellence offering highly specialized safe patient care services, Dr Barigye has been at the helm of Mbarara Regional Referral Hospital for close to ten years.