BBC News
Launch consoleBBC News in video and audio
Last Updated: Thursday, 20 March 2008, 00:52 GMT
Removed Ghanaian dies of cancer
Ama Sumani
Ama Sumani needed dialysis to prolong her life
A Ghanaian woman who was removed from a Cardiff hospital where she was receiving cancer treatment and flown home after her visa expired has died.

Ama Sumani, 39, passed away in Accra, Ghana, hours after being told that friends and family had found doctors in the UK and South Africa to treat her.

They had also raised more than 70,000 from donations to pay for drugs which were not available in her home country.

Her friend Janet Symmons said: "She said she was too tired to fight."

Ms Sumani, a widowed mother-of-two, died at about 1600 GMT on Wednesday in Korle-Bu hospital in Accra, said Mrs Simmons.

She had been receiving kidney dialysis and treatment there after immigration officials removed Ms Sumani from the University Hospital of Wales in January.

But the drug she needed to prolong her life - thalidomide - is not available in Ghana.

The British people kept her alive all this time and we would like to thank them for their donations
Janet Simmons, friend

Mrs Symmons, from Cardiff, who returned from spending a month in Ghana on Sunday, said they had just found a doctor in South Africa and another in the UK who would treat terminally-ill Ms Sumani with the drugs.

"We told her this morning but this afternoon she gave up," she said.

A campaign to allow Ms Sumani to return to the UK for treatment and to raise funds to help her had been backed by people across the country.

"The British people kept her alive all this time and we would like to thank them for their donations," said Mrs Symmons.

She added: "I last saw her on Saturday morning before I left Ghana. She was not 100%. She asked me 'are you taking me with you?' and I had to say no."

The BBC's Will Ross in Accra said Ms Sumani's life had been precarious, and that the decision to send her home was controversial.

Despite facing great challenges in Ghana as her health deteriorated, she remained cheerful and hoped the British government would reverse its decision, he added.

Anonymous donor

Ms Sumani had been undergoing dialysis and was receiving other drugs at the University Hospital of Wales after being diagnosed with malignant myeloma which damaged her kidneys.

She came to the UK five years ago to become a student but began working in contravention of her visa regulations.

When she returned to Ghana it was feared she would not be able to pay the costs of dialysis, and an anonymous donor from the UK stepped in to pay for three months of treatment.

Previously, Mrs Symmons had said a family had offered to look after Ms Sumani's children Mary, 16, and seven-year-old Samede.

The decision to remove Ms Sumani was described as "atrocious barbarism" by leading medical journal The Lancet.

The Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams also criticised the way cases like hers were handled.

President of the Ghana Union of Wales comments


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific