FadlCarda Leukemia Foundation co-founder Asha Ahmed, opens up about fight against blood cancer in Kenya
In Kenya, Cancer is the 3rd highest cause of morbidity in Kenya [7% of deaths per year], after infectious diseases and cardiovascular diseases.
Scientists don't understand the exact causes of leukemia. It seems to develop from a combination of genetic and environmental factors. In general, leukemia is thought to occur when some blood cells acquire mutations in their DNA — the instructions inside each cell that guide its action. There may be other changes in the cells that have yet to be fully understood that could contribute to leukemia.
Many types of leukemia exist, with some forms of leukemia being more common in children while others mostly occur in adults.
While it is difficult to get accurate national data because most data is coming from Nairobi and other urbanized settings, it is still estimated 39,000 new cases of Cancer each year are reported in Kenya with more than 27,000 deaths per year.
One such sad statistics is the late Dennis Omondi, a former sub-editor at West FM, who had been diagnosed with acute Leukemia in 2017, sadly succumbed to the disease on July this year at Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) where he had been admitted upon returning home from India where he was getting treatment.
Business Insider SSA had a chat with Asha Ahmed, co-founder of FadlCarda Leukemia Foundation, a non-Profit organisation registered under the NGO act founded in 2016 in honor of baby Fadil who succumbed to leukemia.
BISSA: What is the story behind FadlCarda Leukemia Foundation?
Fadil's Mum Laila was seeking funds to take her son to India,Baby Fadil was suffering from leukemia.We soon teamed up with other 4 ladies Jimia,Gathoni,Sharifah and Rukia with renewed vigour, we managed to raise enough funds for Fadil to travel and start the much needed treatment. Sadly enough one morning the online community woke up to a traumatic announcement. Baby Fadil passed away while undergoing treatment in India. Apparently, thousands of people had been keenly following baby Fadils progress online. They were captured by our relentless efforts to save the innocent heart of an angel.
BISSA: Since being founded in 2016, what are some of the milestones FadlCarda Leukemia Foundation has managed to achieved?
Fadlcarda has supported 7 cancer cases, we have also managed to hold activities such as walk, awareness programs to places with less information on cancer, That is Korogocho,Kibra and Garissa county.
BISSA: What has been the greatest obstacle FadlCarda Leukemia Foundation has faced and continues to face?
Lack of sufficient funds to run our activities, lack of trust we’ve been asked alot of questions regarding the fund raised. But the thing with Fadlcarda we just dont raise funds until we identify a case. we do follow up with doctors and proper documents before we reach to our online communities. We also do direct transactions to the hospital. We also update our well-wishers how the funds are utilized because we believe in transparency.
BISSA: So what keeps you going?
My late Mum's advice. Be patient and Kind. a meaningful life is made up of an act of kindness. I believe if you make someone happy even if its a stranger your day will be a worthwhile one. The late Abdiaziz once said "Usilie" it inspires me to keep going. Support from My father and siblings.
BISSA: Do you receive any help from government?
Every Kenyan is entitled to right of good health. So access to good health should not be a privilege but a right to everyone. National Hospital Insurance Fund has reviewed their packages but thats not enough. The rate should also favour a common mwananchi and the govt should also make all drugs imported tax free.
BISSA: Where do you want FadlCarda Leukemia Foundation to be say in the next five years?
We envision to have a cancer support group where members may discuss practical information. Like what to expect during treatment, how to manage pain and other side effects during treatment, how to communicate to health care providers and family members, exchange of information and advice may provide a sense of control and reduce feeling of helplesness. start saviors self help groups in informal settlement for their sustainability.
BISSA: FadlCarda Leukemia Foundation is organising a walk on December 8th, take us through the walk, what is seeks to achieve, where it will be held to how Kenyans can join?
The walk is in tribute to the late Abdiaziz Hajj who resided in Korogocho but succumbed to bone cancer. The walk is from Kibra To Korogocho. Anyone can Join, its all about honouring all cancer warriors. Its main objective its to disseminate cancer information to the informal settlements and advocate for early diagnosis as one way of preventable measures.
I will like to thank everyone who have given us any kind of support, To all our online supporters this would have not been possible without you. My mantra Good attracts Good.
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