STORIES FOR CHANGE: Ali - Paediatric Cancer in Iraq
Ali Hamid Abud Maatouk was 8yrs old when I met him in the Ibn Gazwan hospital in Basra, Iraq. I had travelled to Iraq to document the rise in cancer due to the use of depleted uranium (DU) by the United States and its Persian Gulf War allies. DU The armor-piercing shells that are used to hit tanks and other such targets are made of DU. Unfortunately the Saddam governemnt did not give me the access I needed so I never managed to complete my project, but on this trip I met Ali.
From the age of 4, Ali suffered from Neuroblastoma. Neuroblastoma is cancer of the sympathetic nervous system and usually starting in the adrenal glands.
Ali has spent one week every three weeks in hospital for the past four years. Because of the sanctions imposed on Iraq by the west, there is not enough chemotherapy to go around so the doctors at the children's hospital divided the doses up between all their young patients meaning that they are getting a much smaller dose of chemotherapy than is required to cure the cancer.
After leaving Iraq I was in touch with Ali and his family for a few years afterwards, but since the war started againI have lost touch with them, but they have always been on my mind. I do wonder what ever happended to little Ali.