Did you know?
Lilian Ikangira suspected Burkitt’s Lymphoma (BL).
As the clinical officer at Bunda Designated District Hospital (DDH), Lilian was passing through the ward when she saw 15-year-old Mariam Maningo. Mariam had been brought to the hospital with an abdomen that had been swollen for three months. Her family from the Nyamongo village, about 100 kilometers away, had taken her to local healers who suspected the child had been bewitched.
Another doctor from Bunda DDH diagnosed it as a huge intra-abdominal tumor and sent Miriam to a medical doctor who planned to do exploratory surgery.
But Lilian had been trained to recognize BL. When IMA World Health conducted a three-day training for Lake Zone clinicians dealing with the disease, Bunda sent Lilian to represent the hospital. Thanks to this training, Lilian knew she had to act quickly.
Burkitt's Lymphoma (BL) is a highly aggressive childhood cancer that affects hundreds of children in Tanzania each year. BL can cause extremely painful and disfiguring swelling of the jaw, eyes, face and abdomen. BL attacks quickly and can be fatal within weeks if not treated promptly and appropriately.
When she first saw Mariam, Lilian thought it looked like BL. Then when she reexamined the teen, her suspicions deepened.
“The major problem,” Lilian said, “was how to convince the parents to hold off with the planned operation so that we could workout the patient and start BL treatment.”
Lilian had to involve the whole family in the discussion, explaining in details about the disease and the expected outcome.
Finally the parents agreed.
Basic investigations were done including fine needle aspiration which confirmed a diagnosis of BL. Lilian discussed the results with the Medical Officers, and they allowed her to start BL treatment.
“It was unbelievable!” Lilian recalled. “Nearly half the tumor size disappeared with the first dose.”
Despite the long distance to the hospital, Mariam completed the six cycles of chemotherapy and is now making monthly visits to monitor her progress.
Her cancer is in remission.
The Burkitt's Lymphoma Treatment Program is funded solely by caring individuals like you and through small grants from family foundations. We need your help to keep this lifesaving program running!
Your donations will be used to purchase the essential chemotherapy drugs needed for treating BL, as well as to train health workers how to recognize the symptoms and properly diagnose BL as quickly as possible.
Please make a donation today, knowing with 100% certainty that your gift will help to save a child's life!
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