Crosses to South Africa, turned back for lack of referral
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.