Survivors of brain tumour, trauma seek FG’s monetary support

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Some survivors of brain tumours and injuries have called on the Federal Government to provide financial assistance to people battling with brain tumours and injuries across the country.

The survivors made the call in Abuja on Sunday, during a media parley, organised by Brain and Spine Foundation Africa, in commemoration of 2024 Brain Awareness Week. 

They also urged the federal government to intensify sensitisation campaigns, particularly at the grassroots, to enlighten people on early detection of brain tumours and injuries.

One of them, Mrs Joy Kemakolam, a brain tumour survivor, said she was diagnosed with a brain tumour in January 2019 after experiencing consistent severe headaches.

The 44-year-old Kemakolam, who is a and classroom teacher, said she had initially mistaken the severe headaches as mere symptoms of malaria and typhoid.

“Afterward, I began experiencing partial paralysis and seizures. Within three days, I slipped into a coma before I was diagnosed and underwent a surgery.

“As a classroom teacher, it was challenging to raise the over N2 million needed for the surgery.

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“It was incredibly difficult to raise such a large sum, particularly coming from a disadvantaged background.

“This is why we are calling on the federal government to intervene and set up a trust fund that will assist individuals with similar conditions,” she said.

She said that the trust fund, if established, would enable people with brain tumours or injuries to access financial support to cover their medical expenses.

Another survivor, Ms Judith Akin-Moses, 26, said she was diagnosed with brain tumour at the age of six, and underwent multiple surgeries both within and outside the country before surviving the ordeal.

“It started with a headache at school and was given pain relievers. Initially, my parents thought it was a minor issue, but it escalated, leading to a coma and another comer that lasted a month.

“Afterward, I was diagnosed with a brain tumour and underwent multiple surgeries,” she said.

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Akin-Moses added that she was placed on treatment and medications after the surgeries to manage the condition.

She stressed the need for financial support and increased awareness in communities and schools, to educate teachers and parents on the dangers of attributing every headache to malaria.

Also, Mrs Patricia Okoro, a mother of an 11-year-old brain injury survivor, said that her family was going through a serious financial crisis, managing the boy’s injury.

Okoro explained that life turned upside down for her family since her son’s accident that led to the brain injury three years ago, due to financial difficulty.

She also appealed to the federal government and corporate organisations to come to the aid of people coping with brain tumours and injuries.

Earlier, the Keynote Speaker, Dr Benneth Ilechukwu, said that rehabilitation played a crucial role in aiding recovery and optimising functional abilities after a brain injury.

Speaking on the topic, “Brain Health and the Role of Rehabilitation after an Injury”, Ikechukwu explained that rehabilitation encompassed various therapies aimed at addressing physical, cognitive, and emotional impairments resulting from the injury.

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“These therapies include physical therapy to improve mobility, occupational therapy to regain daily living skills, speech and language therapy to address communication difficulties, cognitive rehabilitation to enhance cognitive functions, and psychological therapy to manage emotional and behavioural issues,” he said.

On her part, the founder and Chief Executive Officer of the foundation, Mrs Chika Okwuolisa, stressed the need to strengthen brain health advocacy in the country.

Okwuolisa noted that much needs to be done to strengthen ongoing efforts to raise awareness, reduce stigma, advocate for resources, support research, empower communities, and foster partnerships.

“By working together, we can promote the well-being of individuals affected by brain conditions and amplify voices towards improving brain health outcomes and quality of life,” she said.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Brain Awareness Week is the global campaign designed to foster public interest and support to brain science.

Every March, partners organise activities to share the wonders of the brain and the impact of brain science on everyday lives.

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