A person finding out they have cancer is never an easy thing. Baheya, a hospital that specializes in women’s cancer, opened its doors to Egyptian women. They offer preventative measures, early detection and post-diagnosis treatment. During Ramadan, several dessert shops in town endorsed Baheya by sporting a pink ribbon and a Baheya sticker, successfully intriguing us into finding out more. We spoke with Mariam Auf, Account Executive at FP7, about Baheya, cancer and Pink Ramadan.
What is Baheya exactly?
Baheya is a ladies-only cancer hospital that opened its doors last March. It was named so after Baheya Wahby, Youssef Wahby’s niece, who was married to Hussein Ahmed Osman of Arab Contractors. She passed away after a battle with breast cancer. In her honor, her husband created Baheya Cancer Hospital, inaugurated right where her house used to be. Osman later held a bid on who would better run the hospital and Resala got it. Resala now fully staffs and equips the place. The hospital itself has the capacity of taking in 360 patients per day but we’re not functioning at full capacity right now because of shortages. Right now, we take in an average of 120 to 200 patients per day because we’re not fully equipped yet.
Can anybody admit themselves into Baheya? What does it cost?
Treatment is completely free but there’s a common misconception. If you’ve already started a treatment process somewhere else, we can’t reimburse for the past payments. Some patients mistake that we’re completely free with other expenses they’ve paid elsewhere. Anything that is within Baheya is completely free, outside we’re not responsible.
You had a Ramadan campaign “Pink Ramadan”, what is that?
During Ramadan, the highest traffic of sales is generally for dessert shops, so we thought that since people normally buy desserts for their convenience, they can actually donate for the cause as well. Baheya specializes in Women’s cancer but this Ramadan we’re focusing on breast cancer. When you make a purchase at Sale Sucre, Abdelrehim Koueider, Devour, The Batter Half and Carousel you get a pink ribbon with a sticker of the campaign with the logo “buy a treat save a life” and part of the payment goes to Baheya.
There are five different bilingual messages that are circulated on the stickers.
Our main goal is to increase awareness first; hence some of the messages say that with early detection, cancer can be 98% curable and other pieces of information about cancer.
We’re getting very positive feedback, we’d printed 50,000 ribbons and we’re resupplying some of the participating stores already.
There’s a chance we’ll be taking it all the way to October for breast cancer month.
There were several complaints on your Facebook page that you’re very selective about the patients you choose to treat (you don’t take patients that have started treatment elsewhere). Could you elaborate?
There are two aspects. First, Baheya does not take walk-ins. it’s not an emergency room, and therefore a patient can’t just walk in without having an appointment; it’s a hospital that treats cancer so it’s much more complicated. Second, when you call Baheya there are two options, one is coming in for early detection and the other is for if you already have cancer. We have a certain capacity of taking in patients per day and I can assure you that just before Ramadan when we were looking at the statistics, bookings and phone calls; Baheya was fully reserved for early detection until the end of November.
When people call and not find appointments they complain about it, but the truth of the matter is, we’re extremely full.
Sometimes, someone who knows we’re working with Baheya asks us to book them an appointment under-the-table, but it really doesn’t work. Patients are treated according to case and severity.
Are you planning on taking on the full capacity after Ramadan?
This depends on the donations. The hospital is fully funded through donations. It’s managed by Resala but not financed.
People were confused because Baheya and Resala have the same account number, but when you donate to Resala on 19450, you get five separate sub-accounts, one of which is Baheya.
What kind of treatment do you offer? Just the surgical part or the rehab and psychological therapy as well?
We’re the only hospital that actually offers in-hospital Physio-therapy to help in overcoming cancer side effects; however we do not have in-patients at the hospital.
What about surgery?
For now, we do not have a surgery room in Baheya but when a case requires surgery, she’s moved to one of Resala’s hospitals to have it. In emergency cases, we would transfer her to the Tamayoz program; a collaboration between The Ministry of Health and Dr. Omar El Sherif.