By Chioma Obinna
In a bid to ensure that Nigerian children do not die from terminal illnesses like cancer, Apollo Hospitals in India and Hope Alive Childcare Initiative, HACCI, a Nigerian Non Governmental Organisation, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding, MOU, to ensure that less privileged Nigerian children with terminal illnesses get treatment at an affordable cost.
Speaking during the presentation of a cheque to parents of 3-year-old Tobechukwu Nwachukwu who has cancer of the eye to undergo Magnetic Resonance Imaging, MRI, in Lagos, Country Head, Apollo Hospital, Nigeria, Mr. Rakesh Jalla explained that the agreement with Hope Alive was to raise funds for children who cannot afford treatment as well as give reasonable discount to those that can afford the cost of treatment with a view to ensuring that Nigerian children do not die for lack of access to health.
Jalla said cancer is a serious illness that cannot only kill the victim but render the family poor. Apollo Hospital is sponsoring some of the medical investigations and treatments and collaborating with HACCI through an online platform, known as Medical Police.
No fewer than 17 senior consultants from Apollo hospitals are on the platform where free health information is given to the public. “The Medical Police platform is used as a platform to pass medical information to people free of charge on any health issues. There, your questions are answered. They offer free consultation,” he said.
Speaking, the Executive Director Hope Alive Child Care Initiative, HACCI, Mrs. Adaugo Nwalema who explained that Hope Alive was initiated due to the death of her two babies at birth, explained that the partnership would strengthen healthcare access to Nigerian children.
Noting that Nigerians face challenges of health information, she said her NGO decided to establish Medical Police to fill in the gap. “Our doctors have no time to discuss with patients and educate them on effects of treatment. At the moment we have 17 Apollo doctors on our platform,” she disclosed.
Nwalema who confirmed that Tobechukwu is on chemotherapy at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital said the child requires a total of $10,000 to $12,000 for treatment. Tobechukwu’s mother, Mrs Victoria Nkwocha who thanked the organisations said the family spent an average of N200, 000 since the ailment was correctly diagnosed since April, 2015.