Our final submission, from Victoire Genda, is a work of fiction, but based on experience of the real injustices that exists in health care across the globe. Thank you Victoire!
We'd also like to say a final big thank you to all of our WCD writers. If you missed any of our previous creative writing submissions, please do go back and give them a read.
By Victoire Genda, medical student at the University Officielle de Bukavu
in the east region of The Democratic Republic of The Congo
This story is a fiction
Pictured: A traditional healer in Central Africa
She was young and very intelligent, she achieved highly in all she
did, and she passed many years dreaming and achieving all she could,
because she was determined to become an inspiring and motivating
African woman. But the reality is that some events are unpredictable, like the cancer that was growing silently in her mandible and the accident that killed her parents and husband when she was 2 months pregnant. She developed resilience after psychiatric treatment and support from her friends, but it was
only psychological until the physical symptoms appeared. Her tongue couldn’t move correctly, she developed a pain in her mouth, and a very bad smell followed her wherever she went; all this destroyed her career as a journalist.
In Africa, where I’m from, you'll most likely be prescribed a traditional
treatment or healer when your symptoms seem a bit difficult to explain. So she started visiting one of these healers two times a week. But all this was a waste of time because her cancer continued growing. Things went on like this until the day she met Jonathan, a young student, who advised her to go to a provincial hospital to see a doctor and get an x ray.
Unfortunately, the cancer was confirmed and they agreed to treat her with surgery, which aimed to remove the affected part of the mandible and prevent spread of the cancer to her other body parts. They promised to find her a prosthesis, perhaps her face could recover some of its former grace, but this was very expensive.
She underwent surgery and continued chemotherapy but the prosthesis never arrived. She was 31 and the only work she knew was journalism, but this was work she could never do again with her phonetic problem, so she decide to end it all... she was found dead in her room beside a written message: "perhaps a good
surgeon could have saved me, perhaps money could have saved me, perhaps my
country could have saved me, but I have none of these things."
Born somewhere in Africa in 1989, Nassari Ngonde died desperate.