Dete pupil seeks $78 000 for bone marrow transplant

A 17-year-old pupil from Dete, 300 km north-west of Bulawayo, is seeking

BY NOKUTHABA DLAMINI

$78 000 to enable him undergo a bone marrow transplant in India, after he was diagnosed with aplastic anaemia.

Qaphelani Gama (pictured) said he developed the condition, which inhibits production of new blood cells, when he was still a toddler and is now experiencing severe convulsions, abnormal hair growth and stunted growth.

His mother, Betty Gama, yesterday said that the family had sold most of its household property and livestock to save the teenager’s life, but fell far short of the required $78 000 demanded by doctors in India.

“On January 25, 2015 he lost consciousness followed by multiple seizures. I then took him to a local clinic which then referred me to Hwange Colliery Hospital. The doctors have tried all they can, but we cannot find a breakthrough. The same year in April, I went to Parirenyatwa Hospital (Harare) where he spent one-year two months admitted, until the doctors and the professors sat down with me and said they could not do anything more,” Gama told Southern Eye in an interview at her family home in Mutunya village.

“We then came back home and it worsened and I took him to Hwange Colliery where he was discharged on June 27. I had 26 cattle and goats and I sold everything, including some household property.

“He stopped growing at the age of seven or eight, but we initially thought that it was malnutrition. We buy him three pints of blood every month. If he fails to get the transfusions, he passes out and his skin becomes pale. And when we were in Harare, he started developing abnormal hairs all over his body. As a result, he cannot go to school anymore, but he is still registered. He is in primary school and his wish is to sit for Grade 7 examinations this year,” Gama said.

His father is a general hand at TelOne.

Gama said the doctors in Hwange consulted their Indian colleagues who said he needed $78 000 for a bone marrow transplant excluding airfare, accommodation, food among other needs.

A letter from the hospital’s medical officer reads: “This serves to confirm that Qaphelani Gama has a condition known as aplastic anaemia — inability to make new blood cells — which is life threatening. The patient requires bone marrow transplantation, which is not available in Zimbabwe. We understand this to be quite costly and are made to believe the family cannot afford the costs.”


Well-wishers can contact Gama on 078 3061278 and Hwange Hospital on 0281-22271/2.

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