The clock is ticking for nine-year-old Success Achala, who has undergone many procedures to replace his broken skull at the National Hospital, Abuja, without succeeding.
According to his father, Elijah Achala, the boy’s head has been swelling since doctors conducted the last surgery on his head in November. Apparently, there is a problem because there is leak from the suttured wound on his head, which causes the swelling.
His parents claimed to have piled up medical bills amounting to over N3 million, and could not continue his treatment without help. They are, therefore, pleading for financial support from the public for another round of surgery to fix the leak.
After the last surgery, Success was to do physiotherapy at the hospital for some months. His father stopped after weeks of doing it because he did not have the money to run it.
The poor boy had lived the past 16 months with just about a half of his skull after he was knocked down by a speeding motorcyclist, and his education has been completely kept on hold.
He spends most of each day indoors, peeping through the window to watch his peers head for school or play.
He leaves the house only when he goes with his parents to the hospital. The hospital is over 50 kilometres from Gidandaya Orozo, where his parents rent a room and live with his two other siblings.
His family has lived in the house for five years, although his parents said they could not pay their rent in the past two years because of his condition.
The house is among the shanties that dot the community’s landscape. It looks decrepit, lacks potable water and a good toilet.
Trudging through the grubby and dusty roads of the community with his father to pick a taxi to the National Hospital, his father said doctors had failed to fix Success’ head after visiting the hospital over a dozen times.
His parents, Elijah and Alice Achala, hoped he would be fine enough to return to school after his latest surgery, but his condition now appears worse.
The couple hails from the Oju Local Government Area of Benue State.
They prevent their son from doing many things that could hurt his head, including playing with his peers outside the house.
His mother said the boy avoided his peers because he was unhappy with his condition. She added that he was even more unhappy because his mates had gone farther than him in school by two years.
The distraught mother also said Success’ siblings had been withdrawn from school because of their inability to pay tuition fees.
“He was a brilliant boy and one of the best in his class before the accident. Success feels sad each time he thinks about his condition because he could not do what he used to do.
“He was in primary two when the biker hit him. His mates are now in primary four. He knows this, and we do our best to encourage him not to brood over it.”
How biker broke Success Achala’s head
The boy left his parents to attend a lesson on August 7, 2020, at Gidandaya, around Orozo, a suburb of Abuja.
That was shortly after the COVID-19 lockdown when schools operations were staggered by government.
He was hit by a fast-moving commercial motorcycle on his way home, leaving him in a pool of blood after the biker had smashed his skull.
Because he was still breathing, sympathizers rushed him to Karshi Hospital. He was moved from there to the Federal Medical Centre, Keffi, then to Garki General Hospital, Abuja, and finally to the National Hospital.
His father said doctors at the National Hospital kept his broken skull for over six months to carry out other procedures before fixing it back.
Before the latest surgery, he had lived with only his scalp, which covered the remaining skull.
A deep cut pierced through the boy’s forehead to the back, and the head shudders as he breaths.
One of his limbs affected by accident was paralyzed for weeks. It has been treated, and the limb is now fine.
Father sacked from work, worsening family’s travails
The 41-year-old father was sacked where he worked as a private security guard shortly after the incident because he was missing work while taking care of his son.
“To eat at home has become a problem,” Mr Achala said. “To take the boy to the hospital is a challenge. My children are at home. None of them goes to school. I have not paid house rent for two years, and we have to do the surgery again. The boy’s head is swelling more and more.”
“I beg well-meaning people to help my family to save the boy. It is not good to lose him at this point,” the father pleaded.
His wife said life had been difficult for the family because they had incurred so much debt, including house rent.
She said her family had lived with the shame of being beggars in the neighbourhood because they owed almost everyone living around them, and they fed mainly on supports from neighbours.
The Achala’s can be supported through this bank details: Elijah Achala, Fidelity Bank, 6234899273.
Support PREMIUM TIMES' journalism of integrity and credibility
Good journalism costs a lot of money. Yet only good journalism can ensure the possibility of a good society, an accountable democracy, and a transparent government.
For continued free access to the best investigative journalism in the country we ask you to consider making a modest support to this noble endeavour.
By contributing to PREMIUM TIMES, you are helping to sustain a journalism of relevance and ensuring it remains free and available to all.
TEXT AD: To advertise here . Call Willie +2347088095401...