Ace Nollywood actor, Sadiq Baba, has appealed to well meaning Nigerians and colleagues to come to his aid. The actor is currently struggling with his health as he has been battling leukaemia for some time now. Ailing actor, Sadiq Baba.
Daba’s battle with leukaemia started toward the end of 2015. The disease virtually caught him unawares. At first, he had thought that he was having the first symptoms of a minor ailment.
Ailing actor, Sadiq Baba
Unknown to many of his fans and admirers, the actor, whose role in Kunle Afolayan’s award-winning film, ‘October 1’, attracted a lot of attention, practically lives on a drug called Gleevec, used for the treatment of the disease. The seasoned broadcaster gets supplies of the drug free-of-charge from the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, courtesy of a donor agency based in the United States, but it is very expensive off the counter and can only be obtained from the institution.
In an interview with the Punch, the ailing actor said, “To get the drug at OAU, you have to go through a process of evaluation. Then you are recommended to the foundation that supplies the drug. But, if you are going to buy it off the counter, a pack of it will cost you about N1.7m. And this will last for three months.
“I thought I had malaria fever. So I went to a hospital in Abuja for a test. After a series of tests, the doctor was shocked. He told me that what I had was beyond them at the hospital. He advised me to seek help from a tertiary institution. The tertiary institution, in this case, simply refers to a university teaching hospital. That was in 2015.
“Then I went to the Dermatology Unit of the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital and it was confirmed that I had leukaemia. Fortunately, the disease was not overblown yet. It was still at the early and manageable stage. I was placed on drugs, but midway into the treatment of the ailment in 2016, I had a relapse and was hospitalised for about three months.
“I was rushed from my residence to the Lagos State Emergency Unit. Again, I was fortunate to encounter a group of dedicated and courteous medical staff there who took great care of me. I was placed under observation for 48 hours and, thereafter, they wheeled me to the General Hospital where I was admitted.”
He recalled that during his stay at the hospital, which lasted two months, the chief medical director of LASUTH came on a ward visit and recognised him as he lay on his sick bed.
“It was nice that he visited the ward at that point because my bill was almost over N1m. The good doctor went on to slash the entire bill by 50 per cent. I will never forget that. After leaving the hospital, I started attending a dermatology clinic where I met one Dr. Balogun, a consultant on dermatology, a fantastic person. Although the doctor placed me on a regular diet of drugs, it failed to solve my problem.
“She gave me a referral letter. But I was scared because there was a proviso that I might undergo a bone-marrow surgery. For the first two months, I could not go to the university simply because I was trying to avoid the surgery.”
While he struggled to overcome his fright, the broadcaster had another relapse. This time, he was warned that he needed to go for proper medical treatment at OAU. Somehow, when he got there the doctors had to skip the bone-marrow operation and he was placed on drugs.
Daba was full of praises for the team at the Department of Dermatology, headed by Prof. Mohiz Durosinmi, that handled his case. “Prof. Durosinmi’s team was absolutely fantastic. Otherwise, I would have been dead,” he said.
The doctors also warned him not to skip the drugs, donated to OAU by the Max Foundation, even for one day. For this reason, he has visited the university from his residence four times.
However, wondering what would have been the situation in the absence of such collaboration between the foundation and the institution’s dermatology department, he said, “If the Max Foundation had not been doing this and as a patient, you were to spend money for treatment, you would be dead,” he added.