Agnes, before and after treatment
IMA World Health/ April McCoy
Agnes was sick for almost a month, the tumor in her cheek growing larger and larger every day. Her family sought answers in both traditional and western medicine, to no avail. After the second month, Agnes was brought to Muhimbili National Hospital’s Pediatric Oncology ward, where a biopsy was performed by IMA-trained health workers. The biopsy was positive for the aggressive childhood cancer Burkitt’s Lymphoma (BL). Agnes began treatment and had a very positive response almost immediately.
Agnes’s father told health workers, “I was worried and asking myself: where did this come from? Why my child? I had never seen such a disease in our area. I did everything I could do, but my daughter’s condition was deteriorating. My neighbors told me it was witchcraft, which I believed. I wasted my time and the little money I had visiting traditional healers without help. Thanks to the doctors and nurses at Muhimbili, who have brought my child back to life.”
IMA’s Burkitt’s Lymphoma program, which involves training health workers and providing BL treatment to patients, consists of six chemotherapy treatment cycles over a period of 12 weeks for children diagnosed with the disease. Agnes’s condition improved within the first week of treatment, and the tumor began to diminish.
Agnes’s father stayed in the hospital with his daughter for three months so that she could complete her treatment. He is now bringing her regularly for the necessary follow-up appointments to closely monitor her remission.