It is four months now since Hoima Regional Referral Hospital in Bunyoro Region, Uganda, is stuck with a deaf-mute mother whose identity and nationality cannot be established given her hearing and speech impairments.
On approaching her at her now new place of abode in the post-natal ward of Hoima Hospital where she has lived since January 20, this year, this woman suspected to be in her 30s beams wearing a plastic smile hiding the misery of a mother who was abandoned at the entrance of the regional health facility by unknown people.
Based on the documents she bears from the Child and Family Protection Unit of Masindi Central Police Station, it is suspected that this woman was abandoned at the gate along with her newly born baby girl four months ago by people from the neighbouring Masindi district.
Hoima Hospital officials say reports indicate that this woman disembarked from Link bus in Kiryandongo district, given other documents she has from Kiryandongo Central Police Station.
Stranded with her, coerced the Hoima hospital authorities to inquire from the police in Masindi and Kiryandongo if they tried to look for her relatives only to be told that despite taking her to various parts that they suspected her to have come from when she was still pregnant in December 2022, their efforts hit a glitch after failing to locate her relatives.
Ms Lucy Akugizibwe, a Senior Medical Social Worker at Hoima Regional Referral Hospital, told Kazi-njema News that according to the hospital findings, this deaf-mute mother was taken to areas like Arua district, Kiryandongo Refugee Camp in Kiryandongo district, Kyangwali Refugee Settlement in Kikuube district and Kabango village in Kinyara, Masindi district but failed to trace any of her relatives.
Ms Akugizibwe adds that the regional hospital does not have funds to enable the authorities there to take the stranded mother to other districts of the country from where they suspect her to have come.
The in charge of post-natal ward at Hoima Regional Referral Hospital, Ms Rita Mbabazi, says the hospital received this mother two days after delivering on January 20, 2023.
For all the months that mother has spent at the health care facility, she is depending on handouts by patients’ attendants, well-wishers and health workers since she neither came with food and extra clothes nor basic needs.
Ms Mbabazi fears that although the hospital has tried to ensure that the mother and her baby are safely healthy, they are faced with a challenge of communication barrier with her since she does not understand formal sign language but uses the informal one that cannot be easily understood by signers.
The health care giver says with the informal sign language the stranded mother uses, it appears that she wants to be reunited with her relatives back home where she also has two other children that she left in the care of her peasant lame mother.
Ms Mbabazi adds that according to the signs the stuck mother uses, she crossed a water body and hills ending up in Hoima.
Dr Charles Balungi, a gynaecologist cum obstetrician at Hoima Referral Hospital, is worried that the baby and its mother might end up getting some infections as they are confined in the hospital full of patients with different diseases.
“As a hospital, we are worried about the baby and her mother’s health because the hospital is their home yet it is full of patients with different diseases. It is pretty tricky to their (baby and mother) health and this baby needs to stay with other people like children such that she can also learn how to speak when time comes since her mother is mute,” Dr Balungi says.
The physician appeals to anybody who knows the relatives of this deaf-mute appearing in the photo below to call +256 (0) 774 328 358.
The Albertine regional police Public Relations Officer, ASP Julius Allan Hakiza, says the Uganda Police Force in the Bunyoro region does not have any clear information pertaining to the deaf-mute mother.