SPIR­ITS CON­TINUE TO SOAR FOR THE FIGHT CANCER TEAM

STEPS TO­WARDS TOMO THER­APY AND LINAC MACHINES IN SRI LANKA

Daily Mirror (Sri Lanka) - - FEATURES - By Prashana Fer­nando

The story of Hu­maid, the son of M.S Mo­hamed and how his dream in­spired the Fight Cancer Team to cre­ate a new era of cancer treat­ment in Sri Lanka is one known to all. Even af­ter the com­ple­tion of the Rs. 200 mil­lion plus PET scan­ner project, they con­tin­ued their march.

In April this year, A Mem­o­ran­dum of Un­der­stand­ing was signed between the Min­istry of Health, Nu­tri­tion and Indige­nous Medicine and the Kadi­jah Foun­da­tion’s Fight Cancer Team with plans to pur­chase To­mother­apy and LINAC (Lin­ear Par­ti­cle Ac­cel­er­a­tor) machines for Apeksha Hospi­tal, Ma­haragama.

The re­al­ity for cancer pa­tients in Sri Lanka is dim and quite hope­less un­less they pos­sess great wealth and re­source. Wait­ing lists have al­most be­come syn­ony­mous to death sen­tences for over hun­dreds of pa­tients per month and so poverty and dis­ease are a fatal com­bi­na­tion.

“For three years my son and I suf­fered in­side the walls of an in­ca­pac­i­tated hospi­tal. Here we wit­nessed what sheer des­per­a­tion and fear of death looked like on the faces of the im­pov­er­ished. And af­ter my son’s demise, I knew I had to turn this chal­lenge into an op­por­tu­nity to help oth­ers,” stated M. S Mo­hamed, the spear­head of the FCT.

To­mother­apy and the LINAC machines will not only es­ca­late the ac­cu­racy and qual­ity of med­i­cal care but also en­able hos­pi­tals to cater to larger num­bers of pa­tients.

Ac­cord­ing to Mo­hamed, “To­mother­apy is un­avail­able at any gov­ern­ment hospi­tal in the coun­try. There is one ma­chine in a pri­vate hospi­tal, where they charge about 1.3 to 1.5 Bil­lion Ru­pees. There are four LINAC machines, two of which are over 40 years old. Here again, roughly 1.3 Bil­lion is charged per session.”

The 240 mem­bered Fight Cancer team is un­fazed by their new tar­get of One bil­lion ru­pees for this clearly needed project. With sep­a­rate di­vi­sions for me­dia, IT and ad­min­is­tra­tion, sev­eral mem­bers of high com­mand and the sup­port of in­ter­na­tional branches (in six coun­tries in­clud­ing Italy, Aus­tralia, Kuwait and the UK), the FCT team func­tions at an op­ti­mum level. Mo­hamed pointed out that the grow­ing mem­ber­ship is home to an in­ter-racial and in­ter-faith in­clu­sive union.

“Dur­ing this time es­pe­cially, our move­ment not only sig­ni­fies a fight against cancer but against racism and in­ter­com­mu­nal vi­o­lence, as we are liv­ing proof that peo­ple of dif­fer­ent eth­nic­i­ties and re­li­gions flock to­gether for the bet­ter­ment of the na­tion,” he said.

How­ever, their jour­ney has also had its fair share of chal­lenges. Mo­hamed ex­plained that as un­think­able as it is, there are peo­ple who sab­o­tage their self­less ef­forts. These are peo­ple who profit off the fact that peo­ple are pushed to their last re­sort and forced to ‘pay or die’, he said. He de­scribed them as ‘the mafia’ of the health sec­tor. How­ever, through the good­ness fu­elling their mis­sion, they have been able to over­come so­cial me­dia at­tacks through fake ac­counts and false claims to de­stroy their hon­esty etc.

Since the project’s launch in April, ten per­cent of their tar­get has been achieved. Although a whop­ping 900 mil­lion is left to be col­lected, Mo­hamed is far from anx­ious.

“What is amaz­ing is that even dur­ing this dif­fi­cult time, peo­ple are do­nat­ing. If you do the math, an av­er­age of 2.400,000 has been de­posited per day since the bank ac­count was opened. This is proof that our goal is at­tain­able,” he ex­pressed.

He also hinted on plans in­volv­ing gamma knife, pro­ton and cy­ber­netic tech­nol­ogy to fur­ther ra­di­a­tion treat­ment for cancer pa­tients in the fu­ture. The con­tin­u­ally for­ward-think­ing team aims to cre­ate by 2025 one of the best hos­pi­tals for Cancer in South Asia.

“For three years my son and I suf­fered in­side the walls of an in­ca­pac­i­tated hospi­tal. Here we wit­nessed what sheer des­per­a­tion and fear of death looked like on the faces of the im­pov­er­ished. And af­ter my son’s demise, I knew I had to turn this chal­lenge into an op­por­tu­nity to help oth­ers,” stated M. S Mo­hamed, the spear­head of the FCT. Steps to­ward To­mother­apy and LINAC machines in Sri Lanka

The re­al­ity for cancer pa­tients in Sri Lanka is dim and quite hope­less un­less they pos­sess great wealth and re­source. Wait­ing lists have al­most be­come syn­ony­mous to death sen­tences for over hun­dreds of pa­tients per month and so poverty and dis­ease are a fatal com­bi­na­tion

TO DO­NATE: APEKSHA CANCER HOSPI­TAL, BANK OF CEY­LON A/C NO: 71275069

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