With a melancholic face, Master Abdulsobur Jimoh, (a six and a half years old boy) looked forlorn as he lay on the floor and watched other children play. After some time, he made move to join in the play as it appeared he wished he could play with other children but he did not have the stamina and so he relapsed on the floor.
Jimoh had been diagnosed by the University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital with a hole in the heart, called Tetralogy of fallot. His eyes looked sunken. With a dry smile and a weak arm, he waved to welcome our correspondent to their residence, a bungalow at Tanke area of Ilorin, the Kwara State capital. His parents, Tajudeen (54) and Kudirat, (50) looked distraught as people who had been overwhelmed by anguish.
After Tajudeen who looked confused and worried had welcomed our correspondent, Kudirat burst into tears as she wanted to do the same.
“Though I have three other children, the suffering we have been undergoing because of Jimoh’s predicament has been unbearable for us,” she muttered, while wiping her face and fighting back tears.
“It appears that the world would soon collapse on my head. We had a horrible Christmas as the ill-health of our son degenerated,” she further lamented.
Tajudeen, who kept his two hands on his chin, continued shaking his legs and nodded in agreement with his wife as she lamented, in an interview with our correspondent, said the ordeal of the boy started at birth.
According to him, Jimoh had problems with his penis and anus at birth, but got a reprieve after operations. He stated that after the two operations, it was discovered that the boy had a hole in the heart.According to him, Jimoh’s academic advancement had been hindered because of his current health challenge. Tajudeen said the pupil is currently in Primary One as against Primary Two or Three that he should have advanced to.
He explained that because of the sickness, the boy, most of the times; did not attend school, but stayed at home, where he could be monitored. He added that Jimoh had been treated in some hospitals before his problem was diagnosed at UITH. Tajudeen, an electrician and a father of four; said he and his wife, Kudirat, 50, a petty trader; had sold all their belongings for the boy’s treatment and were now financially handicapped with nothing else left to sell for the child’s surgery abroad.
He therefore called for financial assistance and other forms of help to enable the child access medical treatment in India.
He said the cost of the surgery in India, according to UITH, is N3.5m; while flight tickets, other logistics and management of the patient after surgery, given the fluctuation of the exchange rate, could be about N2.5m
Tajudeen said, “When he was born, he was operated when he could not urinate. Later, another problem arose; he was not excreting from the anus. His anus as well was operated on. It was later that it was discovered that he was having a hole in the heart.
“We have gone to many hospitals. We have been at the teaching hospital and they were managing it. But it has reached a level where it can no longer be managed in Nigeria. UITH said it will cost N3.5m but with the fluctuation in exchange rate, it could be about N6m including flight tickets, logistics and management of my son after surgery.
“I am therefore pleading with the Federal Government, Kwara State Government, other state governments and local governments, Non-Governmental Organisations, donor agencies, corporate bodies, religious, social and cultural organisations, kind-hearted Nigerians and philanthropists to please help me get my son out of the problem by donating financially and otherwise towards his planned operation in India.”
A letter from UITH signed by a consultant paediatrician/cardiologist,
Dr. J.K. Afolabi confirmed that Jimoh was diagnosed with a hole in the heart.
He stated that this makes the boy turn blue when he is exposed to any stressful condition. Afolabi, who is also a senior lecturer, University of Ilorin, said the only treatment option for the patient is open heart surgery.
According to him, this can only be carried out abroad. “But the parents are poor and cannot afford this huge medical bill abroad. I am therefore appealing for your generous financial assistance to enable the child carry out the surgery.”
Contacts and financial assistance could be made through: Tajudeen Jimoh, Guaranty Trust Bank, Account Number: 0109495526. Phone: 08052025173.