By Reuben Twinomujuni

On Thursday, May 20, 2021, Prof. Eli Katunguka Rwakishaya, the Vice Chancellor led a team of University staff and Soroti Regional Referral Hospital to Obalang sub county, Kapelebyong district to visit the family of Loyce Aringa, a 23 year old student of tailoring who gave birth to Siamese twins. One of these twins was born dead while the other was alive. These twins were born at Amuria hospital, which didn’t have capacity to separate them, hence sending them to Soroti Regional Referral Hospital, which also referred them to Mulago National Referral Hospital for further and specialized management. However, the twins, one dead, decomposing and in the company of their grandfather were not separated but were instead sent back home to wait for the second twin to die also. The grandfather, instead of going back home returned to Soroti Regional Referral Hospital.

On arrival, Dr. Joseph Epodoi, the Senior Consultant Surgeon at the hospital readmitted them, assembled his team and courageously separated them. The news of the separation made news online and in the mainstream media.

The university was moved by the news and decided to support the capacity of the hospital by repairing the hospital medical equipment working with the students of Biomedical Engineering. The students repaired hospital equipment while the baby and mother received items including assorted baby clothes, bathing and washing soap, pampers, posho flour, sugar, a mattress, a blanket, bed sheets and a suitcase. These items were delivered amidst cheers and ululation from family members and neighbors who had gathered to welcome the visitors. While handing over the items to the baby and mother, Prof. Eli Katunguka Rwakishaya the Vice Chancellor (in suit), described Dr. Epodoi and his team as life savers and the action taken as a miracle. He appreciated the courage and commitment the team had and applauded the grandfather for standing firm through the Mulago experience and endeavouring to save a life.

While at the function, Dr. Epodoi said: “when they returned from Mulago with a discharge letter, the surviving baby was opening eyes, sucking lips at the fourth day while the dead baby was decomposing” he adds: “this meant the babies were not sharing major organs.”  Consequently and immediately, he assembled his team and they carried out a successful three-hour surgery. He states: “standing between a grave and this child is a medical team at Soroti Regional Referral Hospital” Dr. Epodoi further stresses that it’s not enough to have knowledge and skills, one needs to also have courage to implement what they want to do.

Aringa, in her words of appreciation after receiving the gifts appreciated the university’s gesture and support towards her and her baby.