A child is born to proud parents. They have lofty plans for him/her. A bombshell comes at them in the form of a cancer diagnosis. The parents are devastated. The little one wonders why Mummy is crying and Daddy has tears in his eyes. Little Wazobia has leukemia. In the West, survival is over 90%. In Nigeria, survival is less than 5%. The child in the UK will have a bone marrow test done within 24 hours. All support systems are activated. The parents get time off work to deal with the stress. Wazobia's father approaches his HMO. They tell him that cancer care is not funded by them. Please tell me, what do they fund? He cannot get his bone marrow test done within one week because of many logistic issues. The system has no record of him, so, how will the system support his/her parents. The father sells his car, mummy sells her car. All the savings are utilized to pay for care. Some drugs are not available in the country. Pharmaceutical companies have problems/obstacles thrown at them from regulators so drugs are not available. Adult cancer patients get their medications because everyone knows about breast, cervical, prostate cancer. How many know children have cancers? Ten month olds with cancers! You must be kidding. After all the toil and pain, Wazobia dies leaving grieving parents, wondering siblings, pained volunteers, tearful doctors and distraught nurses. The death. just a statistic. O Lord where do we go? What do we do?
This is dedicated to all the grieving parents and it is a cry for help that children are dying from childhood cancers.
From a fast tiring team.
By Dr Adeseye Akinsete