LAST PATIENT OF THE DAY
It had been a busy day in the community sexual health clinic and we were all feeling tired and hungry. It had been a long day too for Jane, our last patient of the day, not that she allowed us to think that for a moment. She entered the room in a composed and quiet manner and thanked us for seeing her. I asked her what had brought her to the clinic that day and bit by bit her story unravelled.
Jane is a 20year old orphan who lives and works in Kampala and is the sole carer for her 2 younger siblings. She earns £30/month at a local supermarket, where she works every night until 8pm in order to provide food and school fees for them. What little time and money that Jane has left she devotes to completing a certificate in accounting which she hopes to finish next month.
She calmly told us that on her way home from work one night 2 months ago she was gang-raped by 3 strangers. During this bloody ordeal, she was robbed of her virginity and now has a profuse vaginal discharge that has left her too embarrassed and fearful to go out in public.
Reeling from her sad story and yet in awe of her courage and determination, I gently proceeded to ask her more questions, and found that she had missed her period last month. A pregnancy test confirmed her worst fears. As if her violation, a pelvic infection and the threat of HIV were not enough, she now also has to cope with a pregnancy. It was only at this point that Jane broke down.
Although termination of pregnancy is illegal in Uganda, many would have thought this to be her only option. However Jane, despite barely being able to support herself and her siblings, would not consider such an avenue. In her own words, she said ‘I would rather take my own life than abort this baby’.
Her financial hardship is likely only to get worse when her employers discover that she is pregnant and dismiss her from her job. Jane expects no financial help and is simply grateful for the medical care we can give her, but touched by her plight and humbled by her inner strength we are keen to try and support her in this direction too. If you feel likewise, you can donate here through the Suubi Trust, http://blog.suubitrust.org.uk/giving/ and earmark your donations ‘for Jane’.
The most humbling moment for me was at the conclusion of our meeting, when despite all the heartache that had been thrown her way, Jane met my eyes and said ‘Thank you so much. May God bless you.’