Two weeks ago, The Observer wrote about DAVID SSENFUKA and his Leonia-NNN Medical Research and Diagnostic Centre in Kasubi.
Using herbal remedies handed down to him by his late grandmother, Ssenfuka first treated a diabetic Pakistani friend he met in Dubai where he was working and living.
He has since treated several Ugandans, many of them high-profile and the kind one would not expect to find at a clinic in Kasubi-Munaku, and he has won the trust and partnership of an oncologist, Dr Moses Mpairwe, who assesses and monitors all Ssenfuka’s cancer patients.
Following that story, some of Ssenfuka’s clients have spoken to Muhammad Kakembo about their close brushes with death and how the herbal remedies changed their lives.
Sam Nakabaale, 63
Sam Nakabaale is a former assistant commissioner for ICT at the Uganda Revenue Authority. He worked at the tax body for 13 years from 1997 to 2011.
Nakabaale’s health started failing around 2016. His feet would swell so much that he could no longer wear shoes. When he went to hospital, he was told he had edema, a medical condition caused by fluid retention in the body tissues.
It was also discovered that he had high levels of cholesterol, which had caused another medical condition, proteinuria. The doctors started treating these conditions until a biopsy was done on his kidney and it was discovered that Nakabaale had nephrotic syndrome, a kidney disorder that causes the body to pass too much protein in the urine.
With this diagnosis, Nakabaale’s doctor told him he was living on borrowed time. His estimated glomerular filtration Rate [EDGR] and his creatinine were deteriorating at a terrible speed.
“Dr Kalyesubula told me this was an irreversible condition and I didn’t have a lot of time,” Nakabaale says at his home off Entebbe road.
The only solution was to have a kidney transplant. In the meantime, he introduced me to drugs including chemotherapy to delay the progression of the disease.
“There is no test I have not done, no medicine I have not swallowed. There was a time I would take about 40 pills. There was a time I was told to carry out two tests in one week, which cost me Shs 10.4m. I visited all the best specialists in this town,” Nakabaale says.
But all these never stopped the disease from progressing. Being his father’s only son, he had to look to other relatives for kidney donation. But first, he had to search for a hospital to carry out the transplant.
One hospital in Thailand asked for $60,000 while another in India wanted $30,000. He also had to look for at least $10,000 more to look after him, his caretaker and the donor.
Meanwhile, because of his love for tennis, Nakabaale had struck a relationship with Justice Wilson Kwesiga. It is the justice who introduced Nakabaale to David Ssenfuka, a man who dropped out of formal school in P7, but has a herbal remedy that has saved many lives in Uganda and abroad.
“He told me about Ssenfuka and the people he had helped. He said I should check him out because my disease had similar characteristics with diabetes. When the judge gave me directions, I was like, are sure you want me to go to Kasubi? My doctors have been at Nakasero, IHK and all those fancy hospitals. I can tell you, I have been seen by all the top consultants in this country, but it seemed like there was no solution for me,” Nakabaale says.
Nevertheless, he met with Ssenfuka who introduced him to an oncologist, Dr Moses Mpairwe who perused through his medical file and said they were willing to give it a try. He was told to do a couple of tests and the results showed that his creatinine was 329 instead of between 70-120 and his EGFR was 17 instead of 90.
After the tests, Nakabaale was put on Ssenfuka’s herbal medicine and in two weeks his creatinine had fallen by 25 units.
“That was the first positive sign; I used to test every week,” Nakabaale says.
In the third week, he decided not to go to Ssenfuka’s clinic for tests, thinking maybe they were manipulating the results. So, he went to the Lancet Laboratories instead.
“It was a miracle; my creatinine had fallen from 329 to 159 and my EGFR had risen from 17 to 40. I remembered that from 40 to 17, it had taken me like one year and half. I said to myself, at least now I have another year to live. After that, it started going up slowly at one point it even reached 59 but it then fell back to 48. But what I can tell you, I’m very healthy now.
Edema has gone away, I’m back to the farm. I’m able to do my work without any trouble yet I was going to resign my job as a consultant in Sierra Leone because I could no longer handle. [My EGFR is] not yet at 90 but at least I’m moving in the right direction. I’m thankful to God for having given me another chance to live,” Nakabaale says.
“I took the results to [my specialist doctor] and he couldn’t believe what he was seeing. He told me, I don’t know what you are doing, but whatever it is, please continue.”
Hanifa Kalubega, 69
In 2003, Hanifa Masika Kalubega, a resident of Upper Mubuku in Kasese district, was diagnosed with diabetes and enrolled on insulin injections.
All seemed in control until she was involved in a road accident. The injuries she sustained on her right leg refused to heal, owing to her diabetic condition. The wounds kept deteriorating until a doctor at Kasese health centre IV referred her to Kiruddu hospital for amputation.
But because her daughter Lamula Kabugho is a teacher at Bombo Army School, she went to Bombo military hospital instead.
“My leg was amputated and we were discharged. However, after a few days, even the second leg got sick. We went back to the hospital and they said the only option was to amputate it,” Kalubega says.
Impossible, she thought; it was painful enough having lost one leg.
“I said there was no way I was losing a second leg. I know when they start amputating, that’s the beginning of your death. Why should I die in pieces?” Kalubega says.
Having refused to consent to amputation, she was dismissed from the hospital. A few days later, her son was listening to radio and heard David Ssenfuka complaining that some people wanted him dead because of his cancer and diabetes medicine. They looked for his number and called him.
Ssenfuka agreed to go and see her the following day at Bombo where she was staying with Lamula.
“By that time, the wound had eaten up the whole foot. Ssenfuka said he would be able to treat me. I didn’t believe him because they say diabetes is terminal,” Kalubega says.
Still, she accepted to take the herbal medicine which Ssenfuka provided free of charge in April last year. After a month, the wound started drying up. At the time of my visit to her Kasese home, she kept slapping the ground with the foot to show that she was now okay. Even the swollen leg went back to its normal size and she no longer takes insulin.
“I wish I had known there was such medicine; I wouldn’t have lost my leg. I wish I knew this man before; I wouldn’t have gone to the hospital. I’m now useless... I was a farmer and a trader, but now I can’t do anything,” a sobbing Kalubega, who now uses a wheelchair, says.
John Bigyemano, 65
Former Uganda Television (UTV, now UBC) broadcaster and former information officer at Uganda’s Embassy in London and now a businessman dealing in real estate, John Bigyemano is not new to many Ugandans.
Bigyemano was diagnosed with prostate cancer about six years ago. Norvik hospital on Bombo road in Kampala had announced a free health camp and at that time Bigyemano had started feeling pain in his lower abdomen. When he was checked, his PSA (Prostate Specific Antigen) was more than 200.
Bigyemano, whom The Observer found at his Bweyogerere home, lived in denial for another two years.
“I listened to people who said if I stopped eating red meat, taking processed sugar and dairy products, the problem would go away,” Bigyemano says. It did not. Instead, it intensified.
He went to Abii Clinic in Wandegeya and they checked him again. His results indicated his PSA was still above 100ng.
“I realized my PSA was coming down. So, I thought if I kept my good eating habits, I would get better, but the disease was growing and I didn’t know,” Bigyemano says.
Due to the persistent pain, he met Dr Barbara Kakande at Kadic hospital, who told him that with cancer of the prostate, a PSA of over 100ng was very bad news.
“She advised me to visit a prostate cancer specialist, who told me that if they operated on me, I would be saved. However, I feared the effects of surgery. They started giving me an injection in the belly called Zoladex to remove and lower the production of testosterone hormones, because cancer cells feed on them,” Bigyemano says.
He would spend Shs 1.5m a month on treatment.
“I had become a born-again Christian and I told God, I don’t want to die. I have little children I still need to look after. I developed a life wish and my pastor would tell me ‘you are alive’ every day,” Bigyemano says.
In 2019, he got a kidney injury. When he went to kidney specialist Dr Emmanuel Ssekasanvu, it was him who sent him to the Cancer Institute for further tests and his cancer was found to be between stage three and stage four.
He was put on chemotherapy, which he says depleted all his energy. One day before another round of chemo, he felt the need to talk to somebody.
“The number I felt like calling was that of Justice Wilson Kwesiga with whom I have been friends since our university days. He asked me what I have been up to and I told him I was not well. I told him, I didn’t think I could survive another round of chemotherapy. He said, ‘stop there; do you have somewhere to write?’ He read me Ssenfuka’s number and told me to go there that day,” Bigyemano says.
He met Ssenfuka, who referred him to Dr Moses Mpairwe, an oncologist.
“It was the combination of the judge and finding an oncologist at the premises that made me take Ssenfuka seriously. I did a number of tests, which showed that my PSA was dangerously high. I started on the medicine on January 29 this year,” Bigyemano says.
After seven weeks of Ssenfuka’s treatment, Bigyemano woke up one night at 3 am with an erection – a thing that had eluded him for years. At the Cancer Institute they had told him his marital department was closed and would stay closed forever. He went back to the clinic to carry out more tests.
“My results were showing 0.5ng, down from 58ng! I was completely blown away. I decided to get a second opinion. I went to the Cancer Institute. They asked where I had been because my chemotherapy was long overdue. I asked them to check me before we resumed chemotherapy and Zoladex. The results showed that my PSA was 1.010ng. That was in April this year. Two independent labs were saying I’m in the range of a healthy prostate.”
“God has given me a new lease on my life. My marital life has returned; this is a miracle – God using a man you would least expect,” Bigyemano says of Ssenfuka, the 37-year-old from Bukomansimbi, behind Leonia-NNN Medical Research and Diagnostic Centre in Kasubi.
Justice John Wilson Kwesiga
In an interview with The Observer, Justice Wilson Kwesiga said Ugandans must start paying attention to what their fellow countrymen are doing.
“I have referred a number of people, including very big people in this country, to Ssenfuka for cancer, diabetes and recently, Covid treatment; all of them have glowing stories. I call on Ugandans to give these people a chance because their things are working,” Kwesiga says.
Kwesiga says he read about him and the people he has healed.
“I decided to do my own investigative reporting. I called the son of Justice J.B Katutsi, who [Katutsi] said had taken the drug and was healed of diabetes. I also talked to a number of people I trust, who had also used the medicine and all were saying they were okay. I have sent many people I know to him and are all fine now. I think with that; I have no doubt in my mind that his medicine works. So, if you are sick, please go and he treats you,” Kwesiga said.
Edward Bwerere Kasole Lwanga, 86
Many associate former legislator Bwerere Kasole Lwanga with Kampala Parents School, before anything else. The educationalist, who founded Kampala Parents School before he sold it to its current owner, was first diagnosed with prostate cancer in the 1970s and he underwent an operation in South Africa. But seven years ago the cancer resurfaced.
Kasole says he one time saw a story in which Ssenfuka was expressing fear for his life due to his research on diabetes and cancer medicine.
He remembered that the health committee on which he once sat as an MP had debated a law to regulate herbal medicine. He thought he could be of help to Ssenfuka.
“I looked for his telephone number and rang him. We decided to meet when I come to the Cancer Institute at Mulago for treatment,” Kasole says.
Kasole had been to many hospitals globally, but seemed not to get a lasting solution.
“My children took me to Nairobi hospital where I underwent radiotherapy for three months. Unfortunately, I started passing blood. I was then taken to India and the doctors told me that during my radiotherapy, they overdid it and I developed scars that would burst [during urination],” Kasole says.
He settled for Mulago where he would get treatment once a month. Kasole was to meet with Ssenfuka after one of these visits from Mubende, to see how he could assist the researcher.
In December last year as he was going to Mulago, he collapsed in his car and was rushed to his doctor at May Medical Centre along Bombo road where it was established that he had contracted coronavirus.
Kasole stabilized and his doctor advised that he be taken back home where he would be monitored with a coterie of drugs. It was after he returned home that he remembered his appointment with Ssenfuka. He called him to apologise.
On learning that Kasole was struggling with Covid-19, Ssenfuka, who was in Dubai to see his family, directed him to his clinic at Kasubi to pick medicine he said was very effective in dealing with Covid. Kasole’s driver picked half a liter of the medicine, which he took for three days.
“I put away all the medicines my doctor gave me and I took the herbal. In three days, I was much better. I took another Covid test and I was negative. I said there must be something about this man,” Kasole says.
Herbal medicines were not new to Kasole. When he was passing blood with his urine, one of his neighbours in Mubende gave him herbs that he took for three weeks and the blood stopped, yet hospitals had failed to solve his ailment. With that history, Kasole was willing to take a gamble with Ssenfuka.
“I decided to join him and he’s giving me medicine free of charge except the transport I use from Mubende. I religiously drink the medicine and I have seen a difference. I no longer take cancer tablets, yet Mulago had said I would take them until death. When I left Mulago, my PSA [Prostate Specific Antigen] was 18ng/ml and now I have spent about five months on the herbal medicine and the last test was 0.002ng/ml,” Kasole says, showing me laboratory results.
He appeals to the government to stop dragging their feet and assist Ssenfuka and his ilk.
“My appeal to the president is, let him help local people in developing this herbal medicine; they don’t need much. Why should we import medicine if we can make it here?”