BASRA, Iraq - On the walls of Basra children’s cancer hospital hang photos of some of the youngsters who’ve been treated there. Most are smiling. Some of the portraits have a black stripe in the upper left corner. Those are pictures of children who passed away.
Hesham Abdullah says he quit his office job to care for his son Mostafa, 14, and sold his house and all the family’s valuables to pay for treatment. With no medical insurance, he estimates he has spent at least $120,000 on black market medicines and trips to overseas clinics. His family of five had to move in with his brother.
“It’s worth it. I’d sleep in the street in return for a pain-free moment for him,” said Abdullah. “But this is not something any individual can afford. This is something the state should handle.”