Eveline de Klerk
A terminally ill child was last week allegedly denied much-needed medication by a state clinic at Walvis Bay after he got a prescription from a private doctor, who examined him at the coastal town.
The brave little boy, Chryzander Britz (6) from Naraville, has stage four cancer and is in need of brain tablets that ease the pain associated with a brain tumour.
According to documents seen by New Era, Chryzander has a brain tumour the size of a tennis ball located in the centre of his brain.
Oncologists diagnosed him in April last year after he experienced recurring headaches. The doctors, however, told his parents, Jack and Chrissie Britz, that the cancer was already at an advanced stage.
Due to the sensitive location of the tumour, doctors also told the family that he cannot be operated on.
He then underwent 30 sessions of chemotherapy but did not respond to this life-giving treatment.
Chrissie told New Era she is very worried about her son, as it is difficult for him to cope without the medication.
“It is not nice to see your child suffer and still being refused the medication that he needs the most,” an emotional Chrissie said.
She added that the family is not in any way able to buy the tablets from a pharmacy due to their meagre income.
Apart from permanent care, Chrissie says Chryzander’s needs are endless.
“We need nappies, certain food products, physiotherapy and vitamins to keep him healthy. However, my husband is the only one currently working and his salary is not even close enough for our accommodation let alone for the needs of Chryzander,” she said.
According to Chrissie, Chryzander is, in fact, a state patient. He was just examined two weeks ago by a private doctor after a Good Samaritan offered to take him to a private doctor.
She added that the doctor was aware that they are state patients when he saw Chryzander; hence, he wrote the prescription and asked them to get the medication from the state.
“The nurse told me they cannot assist me, as he must first be seen by a state doctor before they can issue medication to him,” she said.
She said they went to a private pharmacy afterwards where they were told it costs about N$2,000, which they do not have.
“We simply cannot afford it. It made us helpless, while we only want what is best for our son, that is, to get the medication that can prolong his life,” she said
Meanwhile, the Minister of Health and Social Services, Bernard Haufiku, when approached for comment on the issue last Thursday, said no one should be denied health care by state facilities regardless of whether the patient was seen by a private doctor or not.
“Our first aim is to provide health care and private doctors should not be seen as competition by state facilities instead they all should work together in harmony. We are all in the profession to serve one purpose, which is to save lives,” asserted the health minister.
He advised the family to go back and get the necessary treatment and medication at any state clinic if is available.
“If there is something that they do not understand both state and private health practitioners must be able to communicate, as it is not about them but for the patient’s well-being,” he said.
“I don’t know why we have such tendencies, especially the state facilities. Nothing prohibits anyone to get a second opinion. If a private doctor asked for X-ray results from the state it must be given and vice versa. Why should it be a tussle while we all have the same vision, which is to treat people?” Haufiku responded.