Children in Zimbabwe need basics not glossy pamphlets, hotel workshops and speeches-Betty Makoni

Everyday I receive appeals for help from so many people.All of them are terrible cases  and one wonders how the world can be like this when there is so much pain and suffering.

One case that has  left my whole nervous system broken down  is case of Memory which came out because there is a man who besides writing for a paper only, decides to  write to save  human life. I posted article below and picture on my facebook as it has become a space where anyone from anywhere in the  the world comes to debrief and report cases of similar nature.  The cases reported via my facebook make mockery of all titles ,offices,funding,speeches that we make on empowering girls and women.This mocks all  glossy pamphlets ,websites and just everything we print and design because  instead we cannot provide just basics for children who need them most especially on remote parts of the country.

As always everyone feels they want to do something and a group that has set a plan to help Memory is from USAP Medical team and maybe instead of doing a one off for Memory we may think what as ordinary citizens  can do collectively and in the long term.The last is to plot to stop the work of charities like Girl Child Network who have given everything to support girls in rural areas like Memory.

But I have questions.How many of such girls are neglected? What priorities  do we need to have as countries -weapons for war or weapons for disease?Can our children die in such pain whilst we watch?In a country like Zimbabwe where we are so educated and we have child protection laws can we let this go on like this?Honestly is this a life we want for our children? Also we want to know what resources there are in Zimbabwe for children and who is working on what? Everytime when a child is in a situation like this they have nowhere to go and yet we have over 5000 children`s organisations  and buildings written Child Something in Zimbabwe and all receiving funding? Can we keep printing pamphlets and hold hotel workshops when children are starving and dying like this? Do children want glossy pamphlets and all the adult capacity building workshops or can we just capacitate teachers round the country to help in ensuring every child is in school and community leaders that they are the monitors of children?

Just this one case should make everyone in Zimbabwe come up with practical ways to help children.Children need basics like health,education,shelter,clothing,empowerment skills and emotional support for those with no parents like Memory.

I also feel those giving aid to Zimbabwe must now seek to dig deeper and ensure funding goes to where the greatest needs are.Children need just basics and more such basics.They need social support systems to be intact and they need passionate social workers and activists to stand for them.Imagine a child having to look for Betty Makoni`s facebook for her case to be heard and for her to get attention.There must be efforts to give basic communication and transportation to those working for children in remote parts of Zimbabwe.

Please note that all points above are personal views and on this website I present  my thoughts as an individual and what I think outside the organisations I represent.It is me Betty reflecting and calling everyone working with children in Zimbabwe to reprioritise and even ensure we help girls in bedrooms held as sex slaves come out of them and be in classrooms to attain education.Very simple practical strategic plans need to be put in place .

I thank the team that is standing up to help  and I thank Samuel for always covering issues of girls like Memory and presenting to us issues of genuine need.

Neglected girl dying of cancer

By Samuel Kadungure

AN 18-year-old Rusape orphan is battling for her life in a tiny room after what started as a tumor developed into full-blown squamous cell carcinomas (cancer) that has taken out her nose, disfigured her face and savaged her esophagus after the father deprived her of treatement.

Memory Chibakuri is in excruciating pain and can hardly see, talk, eat, walk and answer the call of nature by herself.

She is bed-ridden and heavily malnourished.

The destruction of Memory’s life started when she was five, after her father, who died recently, cruelly denied her any form of treatment.

Specialists define squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) as a histological distinct form of cancer that arises from the uncontrolled multiplication of malignant cells deriving from epithelium, or showing particular cytological or tissue architectural characteristics of squamous cell differentiation, such as the presence of keratin, tonofilament bundles, and/or desmosomes).

It is one of the most common cancers in humans and other animals, and usually arises from mutated ectodermal or endodermal cells lining body cavities. It can develop in a large number of organs and tissues, including the skin, lips, mouth, esophagus, urinary bladder, prostate, lung and cervix, among others.

When treated early, squamous cell carcinoma generally causes no problems as it can be completely removed with relatively minor surgery or occasionally with a topical medication.

However, if untreated it can destroy healthy tissues around the tumor, spread to the lymph nodes or other organs, and may be fatal.

Memory’s condition is just as bad or near fatal if urgent specialist treatment is not administered.

The disease, which often result from prolonged exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation, either from sunlight or from tanning beds or lamps, has wiped her nose, savaged her lower jaw and neck, leaving a scary wound that one would not want to look at twice.

Memory can hardly eat and has lost a lot of weight, resembling a Methuselah. She cannot stretch and is eternally bed ridden.

When The Manica Post visited her on Monday, the bad odour emanating from the poor management of the wound could be smelt from the passage.

The smell grew intense as the door was opened.

Memory was lying on a reed mat, with two thin blankets on top.

When her aunt Dorothy Chibakuri removed the blankets, her despicable condition was unmasked.

The cancer has developed on the face, neck, lips, and ears and as surely as each day passes; life is being squeezed out of her.

Dorothy said the disease was detected when Memory was about five years after she started developing red nodules and lesions with a scaly crust on her face, lower lip, ears and neck.

She also had ulcer or flat, white patch inside her mouth.

The deep wound on her esophagus started this year, but no efforts were ever made to take her for specialist treatment.

Her father, James Chibakuri, who died on May 15 this year, led his daughter into a captive lifestyle, and did not want to have the problem exposed to the public.

“My brother had a devil’s heart. She lived in captivity during his days. We only got access to this child at the time of his death in May. He did not want his relatives or neighbours to have anything to do with it. James would lie that the girl was well, but that was not the case. He treated her that way thinking she would die before him,” said Dorothy, with difficulty of a hurt mother.

“It pains me to see her in this state. She cannot eat, see, talk or do anything by herself. I am the one looking after her, but I am married and need to balance time between her and my own family. The girl is sick; we are not giving her any medication. She is not on any form of treatment, and we only use cotton wool and water to clean the wound.

“As you can see, she is malnourished because her father was not giving her food. I am appealing for food to feed her,” she explained.

“The deep wound started as a boil and it later started producing some smelly pussy. It started when her father was still alive. James had a stone heart. His heart was cruel. He did not want anyone to have anything to do with her,” she said.

Memory was taken to the Rusape General Hospital on June 3, and Dr Khaled, who attended her on June 8, concluded: “Biopsy taken revealed asis squamous cell carcinoma face. VCT negative” and referred her to Oncology Clinic (Parirenyatwa Hospital) for further management.

A pathologist report by Dr Javangwe and Dr Madziwa also said: “Material – septic sores on face: Two pieces of soft white tissue 70x60x40mm. Sections show a melanin producing epithelial cells with abundant cytoplasm and pleomophic vesicular nuclei with a prominent nodule. A — multinucleated form are also seen. Features are of malignant melanoma, Breslow thickness is 10mm and Clarke’s level 5.”

However, Dorothy said: “We have not raised a cent to take her to Parirenyatwa Hospital for radiotherapy. We are failing, but we want her to be treated. If anyone can help, then they are welcome. Her condition will require a private vehicle, not a bus,” she said.

Memory survives on potatoes, drinks and eggs, as she was having swallowing complications.

“We are also appealing for food, clothing and medical assistance. I am pained to see her like this,” said Dorothy.

Those who wish to assist can visit the patient at B45, or call 00263773 037326

You can contact Samuel Kadungure on his facebook page https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001470745814

Girl Child Network Worldwide facebook https://www.facebook.com/pages/Girl-Child-Network-Worldwide/109935497517