Who will fight cancer? [Archives:2005/862/Health]

July 25 2005

Hassan Al-Zaidi
Yemen undergoes high rate of cancer infection. The statistics refer that annually 5000 cancer patients travel aboard, regardless of those who aren't able to pay the cost of medicine, one dose costs about 20,000 YR. The statistics expose that there are 20,000 cancer cases in Yemen.

Although these dangerous signs, there are no scientific studies to find out the reason behind such cases. Dr. Nadeem Mohmmed Saeed said that there are many factors that lead to cancer infections. In Yemen the most current cancers are “mouth cancer” “pharynx cancer”. This is most likely because of Khat ” AlShama”, the excessive use of herbicides besides the chemical materials in victuals, and the wastes of factories and industrial establishments.

Petroleum companies cause cancer

A father of a patient called Ahmed Naji from Marab said ” there are 70 cancer patients in my village, my son is one of them. When I went to the Cancer Center in Cairo, doctors confirmed to us that the reason behind my son's disease is the pollution in the region where we live. The pollution is coming from the petroleum companies that work their. Therefore the doctors from the Medical Center wrote a report to the petroleum ministry in Yemen and mentioned that companies must follow safe measures to protect the environment and life of people.

Cancer center

A Cancer Center was established in 1996. It was a small room. The medical equipments that cost millions of dollars were stored to the extent that some of the equipments were damaged. In 1998 the National Committee of Atomic Energy NCAE group of doctors and specialists tried to get international approval of radioactive therapy. Dr. Ali Al-Ashwal was one of the doctors who accompanied us in the center to explain the functions of each equipment.

Dr. Ali said that the construction of the center was established by the design of NCAE to fit the radiation use.

Night and day working

Many doctors, such as Dr. Nadeem and Dr. Ali insisted that the center still need a lot of supplies. Although the center capacity is narrow and small and can not receive all the patients that come from different governorates, it is working from 8 a.m until 12 a.m, receiving 80 patients daily. 49 patients receive chemical treatment daily, whereas the center have 46 beds for men and women. Many patients are sleeping on the floor waiting for their turns.

There is a charitable firm that does huge efforts to supply cancer centers. It provides medications and buying expensive equipments. However I am afraid that the charge of this charity will find itself alone, since the retreating of local and official support. Al-Haj Abdullwasa Hail, chairman of board of trustees of the charity said ” the charity was declared in 2003, October ,19th . It began its human mission by establishing an abode of the charity, opening accounts in many local banks to receive the donations and contributions. The charity is cooperating with the state to provide the equipments, requirements and medicines to the centers. The charity spent more than 120 million YR.”

Mr. Ali Al-khawlani secretary general of the charity said that besides the donation, the charity does many educative activities to arise the awareness of this disease and how to discover it in its first stages. “We have to realize that the patients of cancer needs the charity more than others.”

Although these charitable efforts, many patients' life are still at risk. While there is a confirmation that 60% of them can be cured. The suffering which begins with sending the medical tests abroad to check them and ending with the lack of medical care because there is no enough doses or medication. In this situation the patient and his or her family keep on counting the days and the months to pass away.