Twelve-year-old Cameroonian girl, Kaltoumi, is smiling in relief after a football-sized tumour engulfing her face was removed. The tumour restricted her from eating and slowly suffocated her as it grew over five years.
Her pain came to an end when the medics on Africa Mercy, a hospital ship, docked in Cameroon. She underwent surgery that saved her life.
According to Dr Gary Parker, the chief medical officer of the charity, Kaltoumi is among many people who are unable to access or afford surgery in many African countries.
‘Because of lack of access to the care she needed, a 12-year-old girl ended up with a massive tumour threatening her life,” he said.
Kaltoumi, who was given a few months to live because of the tumour, was able to undergo the surgery after the Cameroonian government flew to the port.
“It feels like a heaviness has been lifted from me,” she said after the surgery.
The young girl not only dreams of going back to school, she also wants to contribute to the family farm by expanding it and selling produce at the market. She also wishes to get married and have children in the future- something made possible with the removal of the tumour.