Twice a month, Ramadhani Mtaturu leaves his wife and seven children to ride a bus more than 250 miles, from a village close to his home to a village close to a hospital. Rmadhani is seeking hope and healing for his baby girl Sita. He makes the eight-hour journey from Singida to Moshi, Tanzania without hesitation.
Sita was diagnosed with Retinoblastoma stage IIIB a year ago. Doctors referred her to the Cancer Care Centre on the Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre [KCMC] campus in Moshi for specialized care she could not receive at the local hospital in Singida.
From the start, traveling to Moshi was a substantial obstacle, and not simply due to the complicated journey. Sita’s father could not afford the bus fare [an estimated $12-$13 in U.S. dollars]. As a farmer in a desperately dry area of northern Tanzania, the expense was more than a year’s wages, but heartbroken by his baby girl’s condition, Ramadhani was willing to sell his family’s farm to get the money needed to travel to the hospital.
Concerned that the financial hardship might prevent Ramadhani and his daughter from returning for treatments, Singida Hospital used funds provided by generous Foundation for Cancer Care in Tanzania [FCCT] donors to facilitate transportation to Moshi, .
Transportation was only one of the obstacles the family faced; they were also without insurance and money needed to pay for the baby’s care. Because completing the full course of prescribed treatment – which involves multiple visits to the Cancer Center – greatly improves a patient's chance for survival, KCMC treats pediatric cancer patients at no cost to the patient or their family.
Sita’s family is overwhelmed by the generosity and so very grateful. “I can work little by little to make money for bus rides and doctor bills,” Ramadhani says, not fully understanding thatthese acts of kindness by donors and partnering hospitals are not meant to be re-paid. “I can even sell my cows.”
Sita’s healing journey is not over. She will require ongoing chemo treatments and continued care by eye specialists at the Cancer Care Centre. Thanks to the support and assistance from FCCT donors, partners and friends, she is in good hands on her long, yet hopeful, road to recovery.