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June 2014 report
How can a parent neglect their own child? This is a question Harriet asked herself when she found Noweline alone in a Banana plantation. This was not the first time we had encountered Noweline, we first admitted her in 2012 when she was diagnosed with diabetes and anemia caused by jiggers which she had on both her feet and legs. She also had an eye deformity. She was 17 and only weighed 25kgs.
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Noweline as found first time at home

We admitted her for 3 months and during that time she was fed a balanced diet. We took her to Mulago hospital where she had both of her eyes operated on and from that day she was able to see well. We also took her to diabetes clinic where she was started on a daily insulin injection.
During that time her father was charged with neglect and sent to prison. When he was released he fully blamed Noweline for his incarceration. As a result he sold the land he had and resettled near the islands of Ssi in Mukono area and changed all of his contacts and believed that his family would never be traced. However, Harriet discovered from a neighbor where they had moved to and through the local council representative of the village where they stay, they were successfully found.
This is when Harriet encountered Noweline once again, in a banana plantation with only a blanket and a mat. Now 19 years of age, she weighs merely 15kgs. Since Harriet last met her, Noweline’s diabetes had not been managed well. She was able to tell the staff at Acheru that her mother was unable to follow the instructions the doctors gave her regarding the insulin injections. Her mother would tell her to eat sweet potatoes despite the doctor’s instruction not to. However, as Noweline had nothing else to eat and she was hungry, she ate them.
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Where Harriet found Noweline in banana plantation

At present she is still at Acheru and every effort is being made to regulate her diabetes. The doctor changed her medication from injections to tablets because of her low weight and Margaret is ensuring that she has a good diet. Recently she has started to mix more with the other young people at Acheru which is very encouraging to see.
It is sad to think of all of her missed opportunities through such neglect. Noweline is mentally capable however, due to her circumstance she ceased formal education at P3. We would like to encourage her to resume her education.
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Noweline ready to leave Acheru

Noweline has stated, ‘I do not know why my parents want me to die’. It is certain that it is not in her best interests to be returned to the care of her parents. Her situation is difficult yet sadly not unusual, she is an adult not a child and therefore cannot be placed in a children’s home; she is not an orphan and therefore cannot be placed in an orphanage. We can only pray that an organization or a compassionate family will take her in for the long term, providing that her own parents are willing to legalise the hand over of care by giving their formal consent.
Reported by Joyce

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