Source: Jovens da Banda , Translated by: Bruno Contreiras
The NGO, Acts of Love through Health aims to diagnose the disease and provide treatment and aid costs to needy people.
Ramos Viana Monteiro Chitangueleca, 22 years old, a native of Huambo, Angola and final year student of biomedicine at the Midrand Graduate Institute in South Africa, is one of the mentors of a project which aims to help in the treatment of disadvantaged children with chronic illnesses such as cancer and tuberculosis.
The idea for the project came when he did an internship in one of the local hospitals. And he encountered a child who suffered from tuberculosis. The hospital began treatment but then had to stop because the child’s family had no monetary means to continue through the second phase. By seeing the desperation of the mother and the child, Ramos and his friends got touched. “We noticed that like her, many other mothers / families could be in the same position and go through the same dilemma.” So the boys went to the hospital’s directive board and presented the idea of starting a project that could in addition to providing treatment and diagnosis for free, reach patients in rural areas. “They liked the idea and offered us a list of companies that would be willing to sponsor.” Today the project works in collaboration with the university and has got as sponsor one of the most important pharmacy chains in South Africa.
“We request likes in our Facebook page so that our sponsors can see that the work is serious and that it deserves a reward. They do not necessarily give us money instead they help us by providing medicine and means for us to move.”
To help him get this project going, Ramos has the help of two friends and colleagues. One from the Republic of Zambia, Steven Nonde, and the other, Kalonje José Maria Tshiseked, from the Democratic Republic of Congo
Supervised by the college’s dean, Dr. Marilyn Hurwitz, they travel throughout South Africa visiting poor communities. They take along a broad team, composed by other young volunteers and doctors. In their luggage they carry, in addition to medical equipment, a mobile pharmacy and even toys. “Usually the children are afraid of doctors or hospitals so instead of providing only healthcare we also take fun and entertainment with us”.
In these communities they perform medical tests for free. When confronted by situations that at first glance seem serious, supervised by the dean and the other health officials present at the scene, they take the patient to the nearest hospital in the region in order for more tests to be performed. If the existence of carcinogenic cells or tuberculosis virus is detected, the group provides the hospital with chemotherapy treatment to be administered to the patient in question or remedies to fight the TB virus, respectively.
In order to perform diagnose procedures, Ramos and his partners have authorization from the HCPA (Health Care Practice South Africa) although they are always supervised by a health official during evaluations and also during the administration of chemotherapy.
“We provide children with health care, entertainment and lots of fun”
“I remember one day while driving to the university I saw this lady begging at the traffic light, whilst carrying a child in her arms. The child was incessantly crying but it was not a normal cry, I noticed that she was crying in pain. I stopped the car and after having briefly analysed the baby, I noticed something strange on her arm. Something that always made her cry when I gently touched. I took her to the hospital and she was diagnosed with muscular cancer.”
At the moment the child is battling the disease by way of chemotherapy. The treatment is offered by one of the sponsors of the NGO and the boys say they visit him almost every week.
Ramos dreams of seeing his project ultimately implemented in Angola, where he wants to go back to as soon as he’s graduated, “Angola is my country, there’s no way we won’t take the project there”, he says.
Take a look at the photos from their last expedition to the Reenza Diepslot community, South Africa. For this expedition in particular, they were able to gather final year medical students from other universities in South Africa, mostly from Witwatersrand University and the University of Pretoria.
The young men relied on the help of the South African government that offered resources to them to run HIV tests.