Habitat for Humanity Uganda marks 40th anniversary by building house for couple of Hoima conjoined twins stuck at Mulago Hospital 

By Our Reporters

Habitat for Humanity Uganda has today announced that it will build a house for the stranded parents of conjoined twins who were operated at Mulago Hospital as part of events to mark their 40th anniversary in Uganda.

On 15 December 2021, Moses Talemwa and Hellen Kugonza of Bulinda Cell in Hoima City gave birth to conjoined twin daughters who were successfully separated on 15 February 2022 at the Mulago National Specialized Referral Hospital in Kampala. The medical team was led by Dr John Sekabira, a pediatric surgeon and the acting deputy executive director of Mulago.

However, the hospital has been stuck with the babies and their parents after the assessment of their home in Hoima failed a safe and clean environment test to raise such children thereby delaying their discharge.

Dr Sekabira said separating the conjoined twins who shared parts of both the liver and heart among other organs and then sending them to a house not fit for human habitat would be counterproductive. “Some time back we separated conjoined twins from Kole District and one of them immediately died of malaria once they were back home. We learnt the lessons the hard way. We now involve social workers to assess the environment and devise means as necessary,” he said. “We are grateful that Habitat for Humanity has answered our call to help these vulnerable children,” he added.

“After consultations with both these parents, the doctors in Mulago and the grandparents of these twins, we have decided to build for them a decent house,” Robert Otim, National Director of Habitat for Humanity Uganda told a press conference attended by the parents of the conjoined twins and Mulago Hospital officials. “We have been operating in Uganda for 40 years and we would like to mark this milestone starting with supporting this couple and their children,” he added.

To mark its 40th anniversary in the country, Habitat for Humanity Uganda plans to build at least 40 houses across the country. “We are appealing to all organisations and individuals to support us to build at least 40 houses this year in Uganda for vulnerable people,” he added. A Habit for Uganda rural house costs on average Shs25 million while one in urban centres costs approximately Shs35 million. The beneficiary must be in possession of land where the house is built.

Hellen Kugonza, the 23-year old mother of the twins, Brenda and Gloria, thanked Habitat for Humanity Uganda for this kind gesture. “I am very grateful for this support which will enable us raise our daughters in a clean and safe environment,” she said. “We appeal to everyone to support Habitat for Humanity’s efforts to continue providing decent housing to those in need,” Kugonza added.

The parents home before Habitat’s intervention to build for them a decent house

The parents of Talemwa have donated a small piece of land measuring 64 metres by 40 metres in Hoima where Habitat for Humanity Uganda will build the house. A two-bedroom house with a living room and sanitation facilities is expected to be complete within two months.

Both parents of the twins have no regular income and meet Habitat for Humanity’s criteria for an affordable house.

Dr Nasser Kakembo, one of the pediatric surgeons who worked on the twins commended Habitat for Humanity for their support. “We have been with these children and their parents since we couldn’t release them to an unsafe environment. With this house, we believe that these children will be safe,” she said. “I thank the team at Mulago Hospital which has tirelessly supported this young couple and the children since they were first admitted here in December 2021,” he added.

Habitat for Humanity Uganda (HFHU) is affiliated to Habitat for Humanity International, which was established in 1976 and is a leading housing organization impacting nearly 40 million people in 70 countries across the world.

Since the inception of Habitat for Humanity in Uganda in 1982, the organization has built and improved over 40,000 houses through four strategic program interventions: Vulnerable Group Housing; Housing Microfinance; Market Systems Development; and Urbanization thus transforming the lives of over 240,000 vulnerable individuals in Uganda.

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