Crosses to South Africa, turned back for lack of re­fer­ral

Sunday Observer - - NEWS - STO­RIES BY THEMBEKA DLAMINI Dlamini) (Pics Thembeka

Or­di­nar­ily, her ex­pe­ri­ences in hos­pi­tals should put her off go­ing there un­less ab­so­lutely nec­es­sary. How­ever, all she wants to do is get to get well and work in a hos­pi­tal help­ing oth­ers.

Nak­ile Myeni is 12-years-old. She hails from Lavu­misa in a vil­lage called Ezindwendweni.

Un­til June this year, she was a Grade Six pupil at Siphongo Pri­mary School.

She was com­pet­ing for the top po­si­tion in her class see­ing as she usu­ally ranked sec­ond or third dur­ing ex­am­i­na­tions.

She was a model pupil and her favourite sub­ject was science as she as­pires to be a nurse.

She knew she had to ex­cel in the sub­ject if she wanted to be a nurse and em­braced that, hence she en­sured that she passed all her sub­jects dur­ing tests and ex­am­i­na­tions.

This is de­spite that for over three years, her mother had to carry her on her back so as to en­able her to at­tend school. Or­di­nar­ily, at this time of the year, she should be look­ing for­ward to get­ting her re­port and pre­par­ing to go to the next class.

In­stead, she looks for­ward to hear­ing a doc­tor tell her she is go­ing to the op­er­at­ing the­atre to re­move a growth on her neck threat­en­ing to suf­fo­cate her.

She stopped walk­ing four years ago when her knees started buck­ling un­der her.

See­ing as she loves school, her mother took her to the lo­cal clinic, Mat­san­jeni, where she thought she would get as­sis­tance.

Af­ter be­ing told that she could not be healed, Nak­ile was trans­ferred to Hlatikulu Gov­ern­ment Hos­pi­tal.

She stayed there for a few days and was sub­se­quently trans­ferred to the Mba­bane Gov­ern­ment Hos­pi­tal. This was in 2014. “There was hope,” says her mother.

Hope be­cause the hos­pi­tal was team­ing with Tai­wanese doc­tors who prod­ded and tested; nod­ded and talked amongst them­selves.

Af­ter a month of stay­ing by her daugh­ter’s side and ex­pect­ing her to walk out, she was told to go home as there was noth­ing that doc­tors could do.

Nak­ile’s mother says no med­i­ca­tion was ad­min­is­tered to her daugh­ter the whole duration of her stay.

“They gave me a let­ter and said I should hand it to med­i­cal per­son­nel if I take her to an­other hos­pi­tal,” says Zandile de­ject­edly.

Zandile’s big­gest dis­ap­point­ment is that she still does not know the sick­ness which caused her daugh­ter to stop walk­ing and says she would try ev­ery­thing in her power to get her healed, if she could.

Zandile lives at her part­ner’s homestead, Nak­ile’s pa­ter­nal grand­par­ents’ home. Even though she is able bod­ied, she is un­em­ployed as she says she can­not leave her daugh­ter unat­tended.

“My daugh­ter was promis­ing while in school and this gave me hope. Hope that her cir­cum­stances would be dif­fer­ent, and her life would im­prove.”

At­tend­ing school on her mother’s back did not de­ter Nak­ile as she said she was not aware if other chil­dren made fun of her.

The 12-year-old said a huge part of her would not have cared if they did as all she wanted was to pass and be­come a nurse.

The 2014 stay in t he Mba­bane Gov­ern­ment Hos­pi­tal killed all hope of get­ting as­sis­tance lo­cally. “I took my daugh­ter to South Africa as a last-ditch ef­fort,” says Zandile as she looks at her daugh­ter Nak­ile who lies on her hos­pi­tal bed.

Af­ter con­tend­ing with the fact that her daugh­ter would not walk for a few years and ac­cept­ing this fate, a cu­ri­ous growth on Nak­ile’s neck added to Zandile’s wor­ries.

Ex­actly a year ago, a small growth started ap­pear­ing on Nak­ile’s neck and vis­its to the clinic did noth­ing for the lanky child.

In­stead, the growth on the right side of her neck in­creased in size, caus­ing her head to re­cline to­wards her left.

Af­ter a few months of clin­i­cal vis­its, Zandile de­cided to take her daugh­ter to South Africa.

This she did af­ter re­lat­ing her trou­bles to a neigh­bour who said South African hos­pi­tals had bet­ter so­lu­tions than lo­cal ones.

Us­ing an in­for­mal cross­ing, she took her daugh­ter to Mosvold Pro­vin­cial Hos­pi­tal in neigh­bour­ing Ing­wavuma.

From there, she was trans­ferred to Inkosi Al­bert Luthuli Cen­tral Hos­pi­tal in Dur­ban.


Her ex­cite­ment that her daugh­ter would get as­sis­tance died the minute she heard she needed to have been re­ferred from the Mba­bane Gov­ern­ment Hos­pi­tal, the place she avoided be­cause of past ex­pe­ri­ence.

“They said they could not help her be­cause she is from this coun­try and the only way they could op­er­ate, would be if she was re­ferred by lo­cal hos­pi­tals to them.” With this in mind, they re­turned to Lavu­misa.

Nak­ile lies in this po­si­tion the whole day and has her mother look­ing af­ter her. She is still hope­ful she will get bet­ter soon.

The growth makes it dif­fi­cult for Nak­ile to turn her head as she has to keep her head rest­ing on her left shoul­der.

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