Four-year-old Kate likes to play with her dolls and dressing them up, just like any little girl her age. She is the princess of the Mtewa family living in Lilongwe.
She has a beautiful life with her two siblings, a nine-year and six months old; and their single mother Prisca Mtewa.
However, what Kate considered normal life changed in June this year.
Out of the blue, her face was swelling. Her worried mother took her to Area 43’s Medical Aid Society of Malawi (Masm) Clinic for medical assistance.
“When she was tested, they said she had an infection and they gave her antibiotics. A week went by and there were no changes to the swelling, so, I took her to the hospital again.
“They ran thorough tests which revealed she had Nephrotic Syndrome. We were admitted for a week. Little did I know that this was the beginning of a different life for Kate,” explains Mtewa.
She was devastated when told about her daughter’s condition and Mtewa thought kidney problems only happened to adults.
Nephrotic Syndrome, according to Medical Encyclopedia, is a group of symptoms that include protein in the urine, low blood protein levels in the blood, high cholesterol levels and swelling.
It is caused by different disorders that damage the kidneys leading to the release of too much protein in the urine.
What started as an ordinary hospital visit that June, turned into days, weeks and months for Kate.
She probably would have had a party with her friends, brothers, sisters and cousins; playing on jumping castles, slides or having face paints, but when her fourth birthday came on July 14, she was laying in her hospital bed.
According to the mother, she misses many things she used to do and her friends, only clinging to a toy in one hand.
“You can see she wants to take part in things that others are doing. Her life has been affected so much. Her diet has also changed. She cannot take a lot of water because there is a recommended amount that she is supposed to take in a day.
“She cannot take too much salt and even her favourite dish of French fries. She is deprived in so many ways. I wish we could find a way to take her to India, where her kidney transplant could be done,” explains Mtewa.
Since June, Kate has been on different medications. She has moved from one hospital to the next- Kamuzu Central Hospital (KCH), Masm Clinic, Partners in Hope, ABC Clinic, Mwaiwathu Private Hospital, Blessings Hospital and DaeYang Luke Hospital.
“There were times she would have seizures at home, so, it meant rushing to the nearest hospital to stabilise her before being referred to KCH for further assessment. It has been tough,” Mtewa confesses.
Mtewa says the family is in dire financial need after exhausting money on hospital bills.
The little girl’s mother is willing to do anything to save her daughter’s life, even donating her own kidney, but they need K15 million for travel, accommodation and medical expenses in India for the transplant.
Kate’s illness has made Mtewa to be away from home for longer periods, away from the other two children who also need her attention and care.
Even her job has been affected, she cannot go to work as she used to. Financially she is also affected since Kate’s dialysis fluids and other medications are not locally available and have to be bought from South Africa.
Kate is currently on peritoneal dialysis. She needs the transplant as soon as possible.
“We were told in July 2016 that Kate’s condition cannot improve unless she has a transplant, but we cannot raise the K15 million required. I pray that God makes a way,” says Mtewa.
She pleads to well-wishers to come forward to help her ailing child.
Please contact the editor on email@example.com if you feel compeled like to help.