Sadiq Daba: Veteran Actor Reveals His Cancer Drugs Cost N1.7 Million


Veteran Nollywood actor and popular broadcaster Sadiq Daba who recently confirmed that he is down with leukemia has admitted that he is in a bad shape while keeping hope alive for aid from Nigerians.

Sadiq Daba who has dedicated well over 30 years, from ‘Cock Crow At Dawn’ from 1980 to ‘October one’ in 2014 explained that he is not getting support from the creative industry.

The actor further explained to Channels Television that he has not gotten any financial assistance from anyone except messages of goodwill. “I am not accusing anybody because times are hard.”

Sadiq Daba revealed that he lives off a drug called Gleevec, used for the treatment of the disease which is quite expensive if one has to buy it off the counter.

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However, the ailing actor disclosed that he gets supplies of the drug free-of-charge from the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, courtesy of a donor agency based in the United States. In his words to the Punch:

“To get the drug at OAU, you have to go through a process of evaluation. Then you are recommended to the foundation that supplies the drug. But, if you are going to buy it off the counter, a pack of it will cost you about N1.7 million. And this will last for three months.”

Sadiq Daba said the disease caught him unawares towards the end of 2015 after he initially dismissed it as symptoms of a minor ailment.

“I thought I had malaria fever. So I went to a hospital in Abuja for a test. After a series of tests, the doctor was shocked. He told me that what I had was beyond them at the hospital. He advised me to seek help from a tertiary institution. The tertiary institution, in this case, simply refers to a university teaching hospital. That was in 2015.

“Then I went to the Dermatology Unit of the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital and it was confirmed that I had leukemia. Fortunately, the disease was not overblown yet. It was still at the early and manageable stage. I was placed on drugs,” he said.

But, midway into the treatment of the ailment in 2016, Daba had a relapse and he was hospitalized for about three months.

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“I was rushed from my residence to the Lagos State Emergency Unit. Again, I was fortunate to encounter a group of dedicated and courteous medical staff there who took great care of me. I was placed under observation for 48 hours and, thereafter, they wheeled me to the General Hospital where I was admitted,” he said.

The actor recalled that during his two months stay at the hospital, the Chief Medical Director of LASUTH came on a ward visit and recognized him as he lay on his sickbed.

“It was nice that he visited the ward at that point because my bill was almost over N1m. The good doctor went on to slash the entire bill by 50 per cent. I will never forget that,” he said.

After leaving the hospital, Daba started attending a dermatology clinic where he met one Dr. Balogun, a consultant dermatologist, whom he described as a “fantastic person”.

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Although the doctor placed him on a regular diet of drugs, it failed to solve his problem. Eventually, she advised him to go to OAU, Ile-Ife, the “only medical center in Nigeria where leukemia patients are treated and the right drugs are available” for the treatment of the ailment.

“She gave me a referral letter. But I was scared because there was a proviso that I might undergo a bone-marrow surgery. For the first two months, I could not go to the university simply because I was trying to avoid the surgery,” he said.

While he struggled to overcome his fright, the broadcaster had another relapse. This time, he was warned that he needed to go for proper medical treatment at OAU. Somehow, when he got there the doctors had to skip the bone-marrow operation and he was placed on drugs.

Full of praises for the team at the Department of Dermatology, headed by Prof. Mohiz Durosinmi, that handled his case.  Sadiq Daba said: “Prof. Durosinmi’s team was absolutely fantastic. Otherwise, I would have been dead.”

The doctors also warned him not to skip the drugs, donated to OAU by the Max Foundation, even for one day. For this reason, he has visited the university from his residence four times.

Wondering what would have been his situation in the absence of such collaboration between the foundation and the institution’s dermatology department, he said:

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“If the Max Foundation had not been doing this and as a patient, you were to spend money for treatment, you would be dead.”

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