Ike Phemo – Botswana Patient Stories

Ike Phemo had a fused jaw bone, meaning that he could barely open his mouth. Day to day actions which we take for granted such as speaking and eating, posed a huge challenge for Ike.

The Cambridge University Hospitals Maxillofacial team, Julian Fraser, Vijay Santhanam and Valmiki Sharma travelled to Botswana in 2016 (see left), as part of the Botswana-Cambridge Maxillofacial campaign. During their visit, they met and subsequently operated on Ike.

One year later in June 2017, the team returned to Botswana. They met up with Ike, his father and brother at Princess Marina Hospital.

Neelam Dave – CGHP Programme Officer interviewed Ike and his father, Johannes (see image below).

“Ike is turning 13 in a few weeks, we are so happy that he has finally received treatment. Since the surgery he has been eating well and has started to grow.” Because of his fused jaw, eating had been difficult – he had to push food through a tiny gap between his teeth, this meant that he had not been getting enough nutrition.

“His older brother teases him now, saying that he is too fit! He will soon catch up with the other children.”

Johannes has been bringing Ike to Princess Marina Hospital, Gaborone for almost 10 years, but no one could help him.

“Before the operation, he had an accident at school and he accidently got a 50 thebe coin stuck in his mouth. It was so scary because we thought he might swallow it and choke, we couldn’t get it out. It took a while remove it. I am very happy with the progress he has made. He is so happy now and he is eating well.”

Ike’s story is a testament to the skills and capabilities of our health professionals here at CUH. Health partnerships such as this, thus allow us to share skills and knowledge globally, ultimately developing sustainable health systems, and edging ever closer to universal health coverage.