Mustapha Ramanda Hammed
Five-year old Mustapha Ramanda Hammed is dying gradually he needs just N3.5million to urgently carry out a surgery to correct an abnormality in his heart, writes Seyi Nathaniel
Five –year old Mustapha Ramadan Hammed is lying critically ill at the children’s ward of the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), Idi-Araba, Lagos. Little Mustapha has been off and on in that hospital in the last few months until two weeks ago when he was confined to a bed and placed on oxygen, pending when his parents will be able to raise about N3.5 million for an open heart surgery overseas to correct an abnormality in his heart.
“Clinical evaluation indicated that Hameed has symptomatic congenital heart disease, which was confirmed by echocardiography to be Muscular Ventricular Septal defect with Esienmenger Syndrome. Hameed requires further cardiovascular evaluation and possible open heart surgery to correct his abnormality in order to forestall irreversible and life-threatening complications from developing. Unfortunately, open heart surgery for children is currently not available in our hospital.
“This letter, therefore, serves as an introduction of the patient for any assistance that will facilitate surgical intervention at a centre with facilities for such surgery,” the doctor said.
Mustapha’s woes do not end with the heart problem alone, at the age of five, he is unable to walk well or stand for long, his hearing and talking abilities are impaired and his scrotum is swollen and enlarged, all cases, though associated with the heart troubles, that would require separate medical attention that have all been worked out to cost that sum.
His father, Musiliu Hammed, a 42-year old petty trader and the mother, Falitalu Hammed, a 36-year old house wife, have sold off all they had to raise funds for his treatment from hospital to hospital since he was born until his recent proper diagnosis by LUTH.
Fortis Hospitals, Mulund, Mumbai, India, contacted to carry out the surgery had through Dr. Sachin Bhonsie, senior consultant orthopaedic surgeon, puts the cost minus the flight tickets, feeding, transportation within India, accommodation and post surgery treatment at $10, 000. All other variables, including the treatment of his other ailments factored in put the total sum required to make the journey to India and completely treat baby Mustapha of the ailments at $20, 000.00, about N3.5 million.
Hammed, Mustapha’s father is giving up hope on him, clear that he could never raise the money. “Where will I get that sort of money? We have lost everything we had over this boy’s sickness, we can hardly feed, we have stopped our other two kids from going to school because we could not cope with having them in school and put up with this boy’s treatment as we have done these past five years, we can’t continue anymore because there is no way we can get that sort of money for the surgery overseas.
“We have been in this battle to save his life since he was three months, giving birth to him was something the mother miraculously survived, after several days in labour without being able to have him normally, she underwent a cesarean section, in fact, only God saved her. Within three months of his birth, we noticed that he had breathing difficulty, we thought he had catarrh, we took him to the health centre around our area, the health centre referred us to Mercy Hospital, Lagos Island, Mercy in turn directed us to the General Hospital, Ikeja, where he took treatment for two years before we were again referred to LUTH. He has been taking treatment at LUTH since then. Now we are asked to cough out N3.5million to take him to India for surgery. We can’t afford it, I think we have to end it here, God knows we have put in all we have to make him live,” Hammed said he tried to control tears, rolling down his cheeks.
But his community is determined to have Mustapha’s life saved. The Secretary, Adeyemi/Arowojobe Community Development Association (AACDA), Mr. Sunday Akanni Alade, who described the Hammeds as very good and loyal members of the community, said they have been doing everything, including assisting the young boy’s parents with the daily N5,000.00 payment for his oxygen and appealed to good spirited members of the public, corporate institutions, governments, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and religious bodies to come to their assistance to save the little boy’s life.
“The parents are completely down; this new call for N3. 5million for an operation on the boy seems to have made them to finally give up hope on him because they have no such money. We, therefore, appeal to members of the public to come to their aid, an account number 3075352003 has been opened in the name of Hammed Mustapha Ramadan with the First Bank of Nigeria, donors are urged to make their contributions to the account,” Alade pleaded, assuring that contributions would be judiciously used to save the little boy’s life.