Making cancer treatment a reality
In a place where treatment is out of reach for most, donations have made a way for Galmi Hospital to give hope to some Nigeriens

By Deb Knight, Niger in Afrique de l'Ouest

Six months ago Mariama was diagnosed with a cancer in her uterus. At 20 years old she is married but without children — putting her in a complicated situation. In Niger, a woman's worth is often related to her ability to have children, and the cancer will most likely render her infertile.

At Galmi Hospital, chemotherapy is unaffordable for most of our patients. The cost of drugs, repeated hospital stays, lab work and travel expenses all add up. Most of our cancer patients come from farming communities where insufficient finances are stretched over large families. The hope of such expensive treatment has been out of reach for so many.

But one year ago, Dr. Anne-Sophie Rowcroft, our Head of Obstetrics Services, returned to Australia for a six month period to focus on recruitment. Anne-Sophie had another objective — to raise funds that will offset the high cost of treatable cancers.

The results were encouraging and around AUD$60,000 was raised through the SIMaid project. These funds only cover the chemotherapy drugs and other inpatient-related expenses that our patients accrue. This is an enormous gift of love to Mariama and our other cancer patients. It is the hope of physical healing.

But physical healing cannot guarantee that Mariama will be free from the emotional scars left by this disease. At Galmi Hospital, we believe in the healing of the whole person. And while we pray that chemotherapy will cure her cancer, Mariama's story will be complicated with the likelihood that she won’t be able to bear children.

But we have hope that God will heal these emotional wounds too. The Maternity Ward chaplain meets monthly with Mariama. They talk about Jesus and pray together. Her doctor and nurses pray with her for miraculous healing, comfort and peace.

Would you join us in praying for Mariama and the other patients who are recipients of these new chemotherapy drugs?

*Mariama is a pseudonym used to protect her confidentiality.  Her photo has been used with permission.