By Muhimbise George
Monday Elly was a 26-year-old student at Makerere University who had completed his Bachelor of Industrial Arts in the College of Engineering awaiting to graduate in the 74th Makerere University graduation ceremony scheduled for January next year. Elly was a soft-spoken, humble, God fearing and gifted young man. His time was always divided into two places; his room at Baskon Hostel in Kikoni doing fine art or in the church doing God’s Ministry.
He was a talented fine artist who used his God given skill to the maximum, he was a selfless person who trained and supported fellow students to perfect their art.
Elly was an orphan with no parents, his tuition was paid for by one Nkwasibwe, a Pastor in Kiburara in Ibanda District. He was going to become the first graduate in his family, and because of his unique talent Elly had landed on a job where he was to be paid 2 million shillings even before he graduated.
One fateful morning at around 7:00 AM on the 4th August 2023, a fellow student reported back from the village to Baskon Hostel and Elly together with other students helped to carry his luggage to his room.
Elly carried some luggage and after climbing the stairs, put the luggage down to have some simple rest. Suddenly, Elly developed dizziness (akamunguluze) and fell backwards on the stairs hitting his back head down the stairs.
The students immediately rushed Elly to Makerere University Hospital where he received First Aid and thereafter transferred him to Mulago National Referral Hospital for better management. Mulago causality ward is perhaps a reception to hell; the congestion, the confusion, the disorganization, etc. is what welcomes you. Some casualties lying on the floor, others in wheelchairs, others on dilapidated beds, others blood oozing out of the injuries and of course others dying! People are seen desperately making calls for whoever could help (gamba nogu), the medical workers look tired and stressed and that’s the situation that Elly went through! At this point, he was still conscious and able to talk despite the deep pain he was going through!
From around 08:30AM when Elly reached Mulago, there was no help until 11:00 PM when he was transferred to Nsambya Hospital. Here he was told that there was a need for a head surgery. The caretakers of Elly were reportedly asked whether they had the capacity to raise 5 million shillings before they could work on their patient which they didn’t have. here they referred him to another hospital in Entebbe. From a National Referral Hospital, to a private Hospital and finally to a smaller facility. At this time, it was too late to save Elly’s precious life and he died on his way to Entebbe!
Had Elly got urgent attention at Mulago Hospital, his life would have been perhaps saved but this was never the case.
The young soul, the talented and uniquely gifted human lost his life because of poor health care in the country. I don’t think he was called by God as some religious people would say, he died because of a poor health care system. The millions that were paid for his education for all the years, the innovations and great designs that would come out of his brain, the dreams that he had for his life, family and community, the immense potential that God had put in this young man were all buried in soil – a place of no return, not because God wished so but because of the negligence of the government on the health sector!
Thousands of people have died prematurely in a similar manner, children have turned into orphans, projects and big plans abandoned to mention but a few.
I did not have any personal relationship with Elly, but his story as told by his roommate touched me and I chose to share it with the world; maybe our leaders can also get touched!
By Muhimbise George