On 9th January, Ama Sumani, a terminally ill Ghanaian mother of two was denied medical care for her cancer at University Hospital, Cardiff and subsequently deported. The decision has been widely and strongly criticised by the UK medical profession, with the medical journal `The Lancet’ stating that

“the UK has committed an atrocious barbarism”.

A doctor treating Ama at the hospital stressed to the immigration authorities that they were sending her to her death. Ama now has to fund her own kidney dialysis in Accra at £50 a day, without which she would die within 2 weeks. Most of the vital medication that was given by Welsh doctors for Ama to take home with her was taken by a UK government Doctor, leaving her with 5 or 6 tablets. With no treatment plan passed on to doctors in Ghana, they say they are unable to treat her properly. Friends of Ama in Cardiff have been attempting to raise money for Ama’s treatment, transport and care at home in order to extend her life.

According to Lin Homer, the chief executive of the Border and Immigration Agency, the case was “not exceptional” and is just the tip of the iceberg, with hundreds of other asylum seekers denied medical care and then deported every year. Things are set to get even worse for hundreds of thousands of other migrants if government plans to further cut health care for so-called `failed asylum seekers’ and `illegal immigrants’ are implemented. Currently asylum seekers whose claims have been refused but cannot return to their `home’ countries are only eligible for free access to GPs and emergency care. But the new proposals would cut health care to all but emergency services, despite warnings from health experts that his would place far greater pressures on already stretched A&E departments as well as increasing the risks to public health. Once again government policy is set to make life more difficult & precarious for one of the most vulnerable groups in society.

Donations for Ama Sumani may be made via Xquisite Africa, 148 City Road, Roath, Cardiff, CF24 3DR. checks payable to Ama Sumani Check out: amasumani.eu

The article appeared in Gagged! #22.