In a heart-wrenching situation, an 11-year-old boy from Mbala finds himself as the primary caregiver for his critically ill 49-year-old father, Reuben Musukuma, admitted to the University Teaching Hospitals (UTH) in Lusaka. Mr. Musukuma has been diagnosed with a tuberculosis relapse and suspected lung cancer, marking six months of deteriorating health.
The boy, who has been by his father’s side throughout this challenging period, shared the difficult circumstances they face. “My father has been unwell for the past six months, and I have been the only one by his side as my mother died when I was still a baby. It is my father who has raised me, and he is the only relative I have ever known,” he expressed in an interview conducted in the presence of UTH acting public relations officer Brilliant Mukuma and his father.
The situation took a dire turn when Mr. Musukuma’s health deteriorated significantly, leading to his referral to UTH for further treatment. The boy attempted to seek support from relatives, as suggested by his father, but encountered rejection and denial of responsibility from those approached. With no other family willing to help, the 11-year-old found himself as the sole caretaker of his father in a critical condition.
UTH acting public relations officer Brilliant Mukuma highlighted the severity of Mr. Musukuma’s condition, stating that the young boy is the only known relative, and there are no other family members willing to offer assistance. The social welfare department has been informed of the situation, and efforts are being made to find a solution.
Upon learning of this distressing situation through the media, the Njanji Seventh Day Adventist Men Organisation (AMO) stepped forward to provide assistance. Njanji SDA Church Pastor George Mwansa shared that the church donated an assortment of items, including a blanket, pair of bed sheets, a cell phone, pillows, and toiletries, to address the immediate needs of the family.
Pastor Mwansa emphasized that the church’s mission includes extending help to the needy in society. The AMO men mobilized K14,000 to purchase the donated items, with part of the funds allocated for meals at the cafeteria to ensure the boy and his father receive adequate nutrition.
Constance Phiri, a nurse attending to Mr. Musukuma at UTH, expressed gratitude for the church’s timely assistance, noting that the donation would significantly support the family during the patient’s treatment. Njanji AMO Leader Albert Chisembe pledged continued support, assuring care for the boy’s school needs and facilitating the presence of an elderly person at Mr. Musukuma’s bedside.
The community response exemplifies the power of collective compassion in alleviating the burdens faced by vulnerable individuals during challenging times.