THE clock is ticking for nine-year-old Elijah Success, who has undergone many procedures to replace his broken skull at the National Hospital, Abuja, without success.
His father, Elijah Achala, said Success’ head had been swelling since doctors conducted the last surgery in November.
The boy’s head grew bigger after the surgery rather than recuperate to enable him to return to the healthy condition.
His father said he had spent over N3 million on medical bills, and now is pleading for financial support from the public for another round of surgery.
Achala and his wife, Alice appealed for help.
The couple said they had incurred debts and could not continue their son’s treatment without support.
The couple said they had spent over N2.5 million on the boy’s treatment before the last procedure gulped another N600,000.
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 boy has lived the past 16 months with just about a half of his skull, and his education has been completely kept on hold.
His parents hoped he would be fine enough to return to school after his latest surgery, but his condition now appears worse.
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 the Gidandaya Orozo, where his parents rent a room and live with his other two siblings.
His family has lived in the house for five years, though 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 take 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 hail from the Oju local government area of Benue state.
They prevent the boy 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.
The mother added that he was unhappy more because his mates had gone farther than him in school by two years.
The distraught mother said Success’ siblings had been withdrawn from school because of their inability to pay tuition fees.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’ head
The boy left his parents to attend a lesson on August 7, 2000, at Gidandaya, around Orozo, a suburb of Abuja.
That was shortly after the COVID-19 lockdown when schools operations were staggered by the 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. 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.