National 1.9.2016 04:04 pm

Young Mamelodi girl with ailing lungs survives on gas cylinder

Tshepiso Machibuku with her daughter Koketso.

Tshepiso Machibuku with her daughter Koketso.

Her 2kg oxygen cylinder needs to be on electricity for 24 hours a day.

A Mamelodi East family is desperate to get their ailing daughter out of the squatter camp they are living in.

The daily survival of Koketsoo Machibuku, 5, depends on an oxygen device because of a heart and lung condition, Rekord East reported.

The family lives in the Extension 11 informal settlement.

Here, the dusty streets and uncertain power supply do nothing to increase the odds for the fragile little girl.

Added to this is the downside of inhaling smoke or paraffin.

Her 2kg oxygen cylinder needs to be on electricity for 24 hours a day. The alternative was to use a generator, which the family has purchased despite their meagre income.

The gas cylinders are refilled every two or three months.

Her grandmother Sophie Machibuku said: “Koketso must always inhale oxygen. She cannot inhale any carbon dioxide, or she will she will choke to death.”

She said the family had to find another place, as illegal connections in the informal settlement rendered electricity supply unreliable.

Koketso was born healthy and strong, but developed a cough at the age of two.

After spending three months in the Mamelodi hospital without any improvement, she was taken to Steve Biko Academic Hospital.

“The doctors found that her lung and her heart are not functioning well,” said Machibuku.

“The only way for her to survive until she has grown up is through these machines. Doctors said her lungs will heal when she grows up.”

The grandmother added: “We plead with the government to help us find a home or a place to stay with electricity and without dusty streets.”

Koketso was like any other child and loved playing with other children.

“But we need to check her 24 hours a day because she might die if the oxygen pipe got off her nose or was pulled out by other children.”

The family was battling.

“The oxygen machines consume a lot of electricity, and the generator needs fuel at all times in case there is power failure,” said Sophie.

“The only way is using the child disability grant, which is not enough because the child is on a special diet.”

Sophie said the family’s hopes were now on a Good Samaritan with the means to give them another place to stay.

A solar system to generate electricity would also be of great help, she said.

– Caxton News Service

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