Byo woman needs US$40 000 for 14-year-old daughter with cancer on jaw

...needs to travel to India for surgery

By Promise Dube

A woman from Lobengula West suburb in Bulawayo is appealing for US$40 000 to take her 14-year-old daughter to India for reconstructive surgery on her lower jaw after she was diagnosed with Sarcoma, a bone cancer.

Samantha Ndebele, the teen’s mother, said her child, Ashely Nkosinothabo Sibanda, needs immediate surgery as the tumour is fast developing and has the potential to spread to the lungs.

Sibanda was forced to drop out of Inyanda High School this year, where she was in Form One, due to her health.

“My daughter was born without this condition as it started last year in October. She was operated on in December last year but the tumor started growing fast. Now she has been referred to Mpilo Central Hospital for chemotherapy where she has to endure several medical tests,” said the mother.

Ndebele said she urgently needed money so that she could travel to India where specialists there might assist her, as Zimbabwe lacked such facilities.

“I am unemployed and I am in a tough position. The medical tests that are needed are expensive,” pleaded the mother.

A facial and oral doctor plus dental practitioner, Dr Vivian Voe, who is caring for Sibanda also wrote an appeal letter last month to Bulawayo Provincial Affairs and Devolution Minister, Judith Ncube, requesting for the government’s financial assistance.

In the letter, Dr Voe said that Sibanda needs an operation of total removal of the lower jaw, reconstruction and plastic surgery, which has to be performed outside the country.

“We have no facilities in our country. They are available and cheap in India. The diagnosis is osteogenic Sarcoma, a cancer of the bone which spreads to soft tissues. The operation has to be done as a matter of urgency as the tumour is rapidly growing and has a tendency to spread to the lungs which is fatal,” said the oral surgeon.

Dr Voe also said that in the meantime she has been “debulking it in the mouth to enable Sibanda to eat.”

“The only radical (complete) treatment of such a growth is total removal of the lower jaw and reconstruction and plastic surgery of the removed jaw bone,” Dr Voe said.

A medical quote of services in India provided to Sibanda’s mother shows that she may have to spend about 20 to 25 days in India, which will include a detailed evaluation of her condition, chemotherapy and surgical management, but this is dependent on the patient’s recovery.

The medical quote said an approximate cost of evaluation ranges from US$2 500 to US$3 000, chemotherapy per cycle ranges from from US$500 to US$2000 while the surgical management is about US$12 700.

These costs may vary by 10 percent and can be high or low depending on the line of treatment.

The cost estimate includes hospital stay for the period mentioned, procedure cost, consumables for the period of hospital stay, investigations for the period of hospital stay, standard diet or meals, medicine for the hospital stay, doctor visits and consultations for the period of stay. 

The estimated cost excluded hospital stay after the said period, Covid related investigations and associated treatment, cross consultation if any, ICU stay if required, CT/MRI and Complex lab investigations if required, Comorbidities charges, post discharge hospital stay and international flight tickets, visa charges, cost of travel.

Those willing to help Sibanda can contact her mother Ndebele on +263 772 775 185, which is asl registered on EcoCash. 

Her home address is 4224 Lobengula West.

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