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Girl, 8, needs N5m for stem cell transplant

“I‘m ill, I want to be a doctor,” she says with certainty, but her dream may be shattered by her present illness. Jamila was born…

“I‘m ill, I want to be a doctor,” she says with certainty, but her dream may be shattered by her present illness.
Jamila was born with sickle cell anemia and her parents got to know about it when she was about six months old. There are eight children in her family, but she is the only sickle cell carrier among them. She suffers severe body pains and organs disorder whenever the crisis starts and has to be admitted to the hospital frequently. She experiences a couple of crisis a year during which she complains of hand-foot syndrome characterized by swollen hands and feet. Her father, Mohammed Umar, said the signs and symptoms of the disease manifest between May and June each year. The family takes measures to manage episodes that are uncomplicated at home but in most cases, Jamila must be conveyed to a nearby clinic for medication where she would stay for at least a week. The application of ‘cola nut’ balm to relieve the pains in the hands and feet is another way of managing the crisis at home, her father intimates.
The little girl has been receiving medical attention repeatedly, leaving the family financially and emotionally devastated. Umar said: “The condition is characterized by excruciating pains which distinguish neither day nor night. Whenever the crisis starts, the whole family does not sleep as we exchange roles to pacify and comfort her, but all in vain because the pains are stubborn and determined until when God Almighty sends His relief. And, at last, when sleep sneaks in on her, we don’t wake her up.”
Doctors at the University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH) Benin City, said for Jamila to get cured, she has to undergo stem cell transplant. The procedure requires the injection of healthy cells into her body to replace the damaged ones.
A hematologist and stem cell transplant expert at UBTH, Dr. Nosa Bazauye said it will take between two and three months for her condition to stabilize after the operation. The transplant will use cells donated by her family members. The cell samples of her siblings will be taken to a hospital in Switzerland for verification before choosing the right donor.
Her father said the sum of N5 million was needed for the operation which he cannot afford. He pleads for help from the government, individuals and organizations to save the life of his daughter. “So that Jamila can undergo a transplant in the Benin University Teaching Hospital at the cost of N5 million,” he added, revealing that donations could be sent to First Bank, with account name: Mohammed Umar and account number 3075634882 (Current) or UBA with account name – Mohammed Umar and account number 1014957735.

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