In OAUTH, a leukaemia cen­tre pro­vides care and hope

Weekly Trust - - News - Satur­day, Oc­to­ber 14, 2017 Hameed Oyeg­bade, Osogbo

Amaka Etiku is a Leukaemia pa­tient and she has been bat­tling the dis­ease for the past 13 years. Amaka lives in La­gos but she has been a reg­u­lar face at the Obafemi Awolowo Univer­sity Teach­ing Hospi­tal in Ile-Ife since 2004. She must visit the hospi­tal at a reg­u­lar in­ter­val to col­lect her drugs to stay alive. She gets the drugs free of charge in spite of the high cost of the drugs.

“The doc­tors here are ex­cel­lent and they are tak­ing good care of me and other pa­tients. We get the drugs free of charge be­cause they were do­nated by a non­govern­men­tal or­ga­ni­za­tion -Max Foun­da­tion. The drugs are not avail­able off the counter,” Amaka told Daily Trust.

Amaka added, “The name of the drug I’m us­ing is Glivec. I must use four tablets daily. I con­sume one pack in a month and it costs between N600,000 and N700,000. Where would I get such money to spend on drugs? I’m alive be­cause I’m get­ting the drug free. So, de­spite the pain, I’m happy that I can get the drug free.”

Sal­isu Ab­dalahi is an­other Leukaemia pa­tient. His sit­u­a­tion has de­gen­er­ated and he can no longer hear be­cause the dis­ease has af­fected his ear. His brother, Awal Ab­dalahi brought him to OAUTH Ife from Kano State. Awal was very de­lighted that he could get the drugs for Sal­isu free of charge but the pains of mov­ing his brother from Kano to Ife would not van­ish from their mem­ory as he nar­rated his tra­vail on the way.

“We came from Kano. I brought my brother, Sal­isu, who is suf­fer­ing from Leukaemia. We were re­ferred to OAUTH Ife from Aminu Kano Gen­eral Hospi­tal be­cause they said the drugs he needs are only avail­able in OAUTH. The drug is N700,000 but we are get­ting it free. This ges­ture has saved many lives. We ex­pe­ri­enced se­ri­ous dif­fi­cul­ties in bring­ing him here but at least we are glad that we got the drugs.”

Like Amaka and Sal­isu, there are over 1,000 Leukaemia pa­tients re­ceiv­ing treat­ment at the OAUTH Ife who must take some very ex­pen­sive drugs such as Ima­tinib (Glivec) Nilo­tinib (Tasigna)/Dasa­tinib (Su­tent) or Bo­su­tini (Bo­sulif ) depend­ing on the stage of the dis­ease in the blood. They get the drugs free be­cause it was do­nated by a non­govern­men­tal or­ga­ni­za­tion, Max Foun­da­tion, based in the United States of Amer­ica.

Dr Ra­haman Bo­lar­inwa, a Con­sul­tant Hae­ma­tol­o­gist is the Head of Depart­ment of Hae­ma­tol­ogy at the OAUTH Ife, where pa­tients with is­sues re­lat­ing to blood dis­or­der are di­ag­nosed, treated, man­aged and mon­i­tored.

Bo­lar­inwa said, “For the treat­ment of Chronic Myeloid Leukaemia, (CML) OAUTH has rel­a­tive ad­van­tage. The drugs for the treat­ment of this CML are only avail­able here in this hospi­tal free of charge. Also, OAUTH is equipped with nec­es­sary fa­cil­i­ties for the di­ag­no­sis and mon­i­tor­ing of the pa­tients with th­ese dis­or­ders. Th­ese gave us the ad­van­tage over other ter­tiary health in­sti­tu­tions in the coun­try.”

He ex­plained that CML is a blood cancer and that it may take some time be­fore the pa­tient would get to know about it. Ac­cord­ing to him, “Most of our pa­tients are usu­ally picked up at a later stage in the de­vel­op­ment of the dis­ease be­cause in Nige­ria, we do not have the habit of rou­tine med­i­cal checkup. The de­tec­tion of CML is by do­ing rou­tine checkup. It is pos­si­ble to de­tect it ear­lier be­cause CML comes in three phases.”

Bo­lar­inwa said, “The first phase is the early stage known as chronic phase in which the pa­tient may not know any­thing be­cause there may be no sig­nif­i­cant symp­tom ex­cept that the blood count is high. The sec­ond phase is known as ac­cel­er­ated phase in which there would be es­ca­la­tion of the ini­tial symp­toms. The pa­tient can come with blind­ness and hear­ing loss. This may oc­cur as a re­sult of the block­age of the small ves­sels

Ad­min block of OAUTH

Ab­dul­lahi, Leukaemia pa­tient from Kano

Amaka, Leukaemia pa­tient from La­gos

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