In a bid to tackle the rare disorder of ameloblastoma in Nigeria, the Zainab Aimemenoghena Asekome Foundation (ZAAM Foundation) has launched out over the weekend in Lagos.
Set up to immortalize the life and times of Madam Zainab Asekome, a great woman who battled the disorder for more than 20 years of her life till she passed, the organization aims to create awareness about the disease, support patients who live with the condition, as well as give scholarships to doctors who specialize in the field of maxillofacials and constructive surgery so that the frontiers of knowledge and research about it will be extended.
Speaking at the official launching of the nongovernmental organization, Mrs. Halima Adesanya, the President of the Foundation disclosed about ZAAM Foundation, ‘It is about my mom.
It is about ameloblastoma. She had this disease for more than 20 years until the disorder killed her.
Our mom had a little swell then she went to several hospitals, they were not able to know what it is until we went to ABU Zaria. That was where it was diagnosed she had ameloblastoma.’
‘We decided that we will do a research concerning the disease. We are creating awareness about the disease.
We will be supporting patients who have it. We will be giving scholarships to doctors who specialize in maxillofacials for them to know more.
We are going public to let them know about the measures we have put in place. We are open to individuals, other NGOs, governments, private businesses, volunteers, and everyone to support us on this project.’
‘In my mom’s case, we had to go to India. It is not a cheap surgery. For kids, I think they would manage it better.
We have good doctors here that can treat the disease, for example, ABU Zaria. You don’t have to go abroad.
I want to encourage anyone with this disease that there is hope. We are here for you. It is not a death sentence. It can be managed. It can be cured. It depends on the level it has gone.
Reach us on our website, phone numbers and social media.’
On his part, the second child of late Madam Zainab, Mr. Adaka Asekome noted: ‘ZAAM Foundation is an initiative that was set up by the family, first and foremost, to honour Madam Zainab Asekome because of the selfless life she lived.
I grew up knowing that other people lived with us not just only us, her children. I observed that we never got preferential treatment. It speaks volumes to the kind of person she is – selfless and given to helping people.’
‘It is also going to be addressing ameloblastoma that most people don’t know about. We are trying to address the situation.
People don’t need to die needlessly. We are trying to address research into what needs to be done. We have scholarship for students who want to build a career in that discipline of medicine.’
Telling us more about their late mother, the last child Zuweira shared: ‘She was a beautiful woman who could compete for any beauty contest but this condition disfigured her.
That is why we don’t have any of her pictures here. It is for a reason. We don’t have pictures of her since 1995.
We started this in honour of our mother and what she went through while she was here. She suffered from this situation for 20 years of her life.’
‘We decided to help people or at least bring information. Some blame witchcraft for this but we know it is a disease that is manageable.
It is also to give scholarship to young specialists – maxillofacialists and constructive surgeons – to help them achieve their dream and help us in the long run.’
They called on well-meaning individuals, other NGOs, governments, private businesses, development agencies, among others to support them on the laudable initiative.
They also thanked the doctors and other professionals like Dr. Charles and Dr. Sowunmi who have been of immense help to them during and after the lifetime of their mother.
Vanguard News Nigeria