Health-Related Suffering among Children from Impoverished Settings: A case of a mother and her baby failing TB and advanced HIV Disease in South Western Uganda

By Dr. Angella Namatovu

How help came to a very sick mother with her seemingly dying baby and her other 2 children:

In 2022, a community volunteer in southwestern Uganda was concerned about the plight of a dying baby with her mother who lived in a small makeshift. The two lived with two other young children in a very impoverished family of four people. The community volunteer approached the palliative care team at Kitagata Hospital for help. The Hospital is located about 3 miles from the village where the vulnerable family lives. The mother (50) and the youngest baby (3) were both diagnosed with Tuberculosis (TB) and advanced HIV disease (AHD) due to poor adherence to Antiretroviral Therapy. According to a senior nurse at the hospital, the situation was helped by the vigilance of the community volunteer and the intervention of the SHiNE Child Program which provided transport, treatment navigation, and psychosocial support for treatment for the mother and her child. While the mother and her baby were so sick and home and while getting treatment at the hospital, the main caregivers were Sarah a 9-year-old girl, and her brother Bruno 7 years old. Sarah did more following up as an elder child. Bruno had his other challenge of hard-to-speech so he remained at home most of the time. Sarah and Bruno dropped out of school to care for their widowed mother and youngest baby sister.

Sarah is Back to School: Thank you for your Generous Giving.
After a few months, the mother’s health improved greatly and the baby was cured of TB too. However, the mother remained unemployed and struggled to provide for the children’s basic needs and education. During PCAU’s visit home in October 2023, the team met Sarah who expressed a strong desire to attend school. She was at home and experienced loneliness while her peers attended classes. Sarah a girl of 9 years went back to Rukundo Primary School at the beginning of the year. She now hopes for a bright future and has dreams like any other child would. This program has to support Sarah’s return to school, ensuring she receives guidance from her teachers which has brought hope to her mother and siblings. Sarah is very grateful to be back at school and looks to the future with hope.

Holistic care to Sarah’s family by the SHiNE Child Program
The SHiNE Child Program continues to support the family through the palliative care team at Kitagata Hospital. The family has been provided with basic needs such as bedding, clothes, and accessional food supplements for nutrition. The youngest child who suffered malnutrition is steadily recovering. The baby continues to receive treatment and care from the compassionate team at the hospital. The SHiNE Child Program continues to offer transport whenever travel to the hospital for reviews is required. The Palliative Care team at Kitagata Hospital continues to support the mother of 3 to adhere to her treatment. The family lacks an improved piece of shelter and the community continues to support them in many ways.

Join us to make a difference
The SHiNE Child Program thrives due to the generous contributions of individuals and institutions. In Uganda, At least 30% of all children below 5 years in this area are stunted. But in one of the districts where we work: stunting levels are 51–55.6%. Uganda’s national stunting level is 29%. The damage caused by stunting is most times irreversible. Children also face other health-related suffering that requires palliative care.

Special Hearts to Nurture Every Child – SHiNE Child Program

‘’Our conviction is that we can raise a community of compassionate people to support children from impoverished families who are facing challenging life situations to realize their full potential.’’

Join us today: Donate to the Program


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