Nigist Dageto is 35 years old and lives in the Wolayta District of Ethiopia. A few years ago, she noticed that a lump had formed in her armpit and she went to the hospital to have it checked out. Upon further examination, the doctor informed Nigist that she had breast cancer, and she would need surgery to have her breast removed. The cost of the initial surgery was approximately USD200 but Nigist made it clear to the doctor, “I told him I am too poor to pay that.”
Over time, Nigist was able to raise a small amount of money from her church community to pursue treatment. She had to travel over 400km from Wolayta to Addis Ababa for cancer services, as they was not available in her own community. Nigist continued to wait with no response. “I would go to my appointments only to wait for a turn that never came, lying on a piece of cardboard in the rain, in the cold, just waiting.”
It was very tough for Nigist’s family while she was away in Addis Ababa. Nigist’s husband has also traveled, and works far away as a day laborer. Her children stayed in Wolayta and she makes sure they have enough money to buy food, and they get support from some nieghbors. In addition, while Nigist was seeking treatment, she was not able to work and therefore loses a crucial second income for her family.
After waiting for two years, Nigist was eventually able to access care thanks to the support of the Mathios Wondu Ethiopian Cancer Society. She received the treatment that she needed and began to feel better. Today, Nigist is still undergoing treatment and attends regular appointments. She hopes to be better soon to be able to return home to her family and be with her children.