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Jasmine Tolulope’s Battle And Victory Over Alopecia

 

The Oasis Reporters

October 1, 2018

 

Jasmine Tolulope, creating awareness on Alopecia.
By Mike Odeh James

 

Jasmine Tolulope is a young Nigerian who chose courage in the face of stigmatization that thousands of Nigerians face due to alopecia, an autoimmune condition which results in unpredictable hair loss in its victims.
Alopecia is a condition which leads to partial or total loss of hair and it can occur at any point in time in the life of the victim, irrespective of age.

Alopecia types

Alopecia in Nigeria and Africa gets international support.

 

At times, it can lead to complete loss of hair on the scalp, which is called Alopecia totalis and in some cases, the loss of hair occurs throughout the entire body -meaning all the eyelashes, hair in the armpit, hair on the hands, legs and chest would fall off. This condition is called alopecia universalis.
That is the worst case scenario and that was the condition that young Miss Jasmine Tolulope Oguns found herself in.

 

There are over 100,000 persons living with Alopecia in Nigeria and they are looked upon with suspicion, disdain and rejection. Some are seen as afflicted with demons while others are seen as possessed with evil spirits. Most of the victims become withdrawn and at times contemplate or commit suicide.

‘My Hair Came Off 13 Years Ago’

Jasmine told me how she got to know that she was afflicted with the condition. “About 13 years ago. Anytime, I braid(plait) my hair, I noticed that a patch would go off, but I thought it would grow back, however the hair did not grow back’. It got to a stage that she had to shave her hair off totally hoping that it would regenerate but it did not.
She was taken for spiritual counseling by her mother who thought that Jasmine was under a spiritual attack. When prayers did not suffice, she was taken to the hospital where she was told that it was a condition called alopecia and that her hair may or may not grow again.
Her dermatologist placed her on medication which cost her over N18,000.00 in a month and the treatment took her nine months, yet nothing came out of it. Pushed by the stigma, jeers and taunts she was subjected to, Jasmine consulted a new dermatologist who promised that her hair would grow back in no time.

 

The new dermatologist gave a fresh prescription and within a few weeks of taking the medication Jasmine started going insane, forgetting names of friends ,dates of birthday of loved ones, started having fits of tantrums and getting violent too. At some point, she had to stop using the medication.

Rejection, Dejection And Contemplated Suicide

In Nigeria it would amount to sacrilege for a woman or a young girl to go outside her house with her scalp totally devoid of hair .she would be openly ridiculed, despised and she may lose her friends. And all that was Jasmine’s lot.

In college, many students would come from other departments to see the lady with the bald hair, taunt and mock her .And it got to the point where she had to stop going out for any social gathering, making her reclusive.

Jasmine recalled that during her National Youth Service in Kano, she met a young man and fell in love, with plans of getting married after their service year.

Three months to the traditional marriage, the mother of the groom came to her house and told her mother that her son was no longer interested in getting married to someone with alopecia.

The world came crashing for her on that day and it was in that state that Jasmine thought of ending her predicament. She calmly walked in to the kitchen when no one was watching her, grabbed a naked water heater which was plugged and whoooosh….she was gone ….

 

Today, Jasmine is alive, strong and waxing stronger. She has a foundation that raises awareness and counselling for people living with Alopecia in Nigeria and Africa.

 

The Alopecia Foundation gets support from the Nigerian online media.

Greg Abolo

Blogger at The Oasis Reporters.

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