Amos gets a new chance at life with BL treatment

  • Mar 6, 2013

IMA World Health/ Sister Margaret Ishengoma

Thirteen year-old Amos is an orphan in Tanzania whose mother died of HIV when he was just 9 years old. Though Amos’s father is alive, he is bedridden with HIV and unable to care for his son.

In October 2012, Amos began experiencing frequent nosebleeds followed by the rapid development of a swollen growth in the left side of his jaw. Sara, Amos’s aunt and guardian, told us that her nephew’s face had completely changed within just two weeks.

Amos and Sara live 100 kilometers from the district hospital, and it took two weeks for her to sell two chickens for 8,000 Tshs ($5 U.S.) to pay for bus fare so that Amos could see a doctor. When they arrived, the doctors diagnosed Amos with a dental abscess and prescribed antibiotics.

But the swelling continued to grow rapidly, unresponsive to the treatment. Fearing his condition was contagious, his aunt and even several health workers grew concerned for their own health.

The puzzled staff at the district hospital referred Amos to Muhimbili National Hospital, where he was diagnosed not with an abscess but with the highly aggressive childhood cancer Burkitt’s Lymphoma (BL).

The staff at Muhimbili Hospital had been specially trained to recognize the symptoms of BL through IMA World Health’s Burkitt’s Lymphoma Treatment Program. In addition to training on diagnosis and case management, IMA also provides the essential chemotherapy drugs to properly treat Amos.

BL is found commonly in malaria-endemic areas like Tanzania, and it can be deadly within weeks without proper treatment. Fortunately, patients who are diagnosed and treated properly have an extremely high success rate. Through the BL program, IMA has helped to treat over 4,200 children.

After just one cycle of treatment (out of six), the swelling in Amos’s cheek and jaw has decreased considerably. He is continuing to receive treatments at Muhimbili National Hospital to dissolve the tumor, and he is hoped to make a full recovery – thanks to his caring aunt, the staff at Muhimbili Hospital, IMA World Health and caring donors like you!

You can help children like Amos!

You can help children like Amos get the diagnosis and treatment they need to beat Burkitt’s Lymphoma. Please make a donation now to support IMA’s Burkitt’s Lymphoma Treatment Program!