Since our last visit to Malawi in September 2015 the team have reported that last year they newly diagnosed 248 children with cancer in the paediatric oncology unit at the Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital, Blantyre. This is in addition to caring for dozens of children every month as outpatients.
As part of our support this year we were able to raise money to buy 2 new ultrasound machines for the unit, which will enable them to quickly and accurately diagnose children with abdomincal malignancies, especially Wilms' tumour. We hope that this new equipment can also help other departments within the paediatric service at QECH, including surgery.
The team, now led by Dr George Chagaluka, reported that in 2015 there was a reduction in the number of induction-related deaths, due to more vigorous monitoring of patients and an increased staff awareness of emergency signs.
Survival rates for children with cancer also continue to increase, especially for children with Burkitt lymphoma, a malignancy often related to malaria incidence in sub-Saharan Africa.
Follow-up of patients remains a challenge in Malawi - children travel from great distances to get to the hospital, and are often not reachable by phone. Ideally an outreach officer or nurse would travel to these patients to ensure that they are not showing signs of relapse, and to check that they remain in good health after finishing treatment. We plan to explore ways to support a follow-up service in Malawi and are investigating the development of this service with the team.
Supportive care has also been increased for patients, with improved availability of drugs for treating side effects and easing the painful symptoms of cancer therapy.Palliative care servcies are also being enhanced, with the increased involvement of a social worker with the ward.
We would like to say a huge thank you to all of our supporters in working with us to make this programme in Malawi possible. The team in Blantyre are extremely passionate and dedicated to improving the lives of children with cancer and do a wonderful job with the limited resources available to them. With your help we can continue supporting their wonderful work.
The World Chil Cancer Team
Wold Child Cancer (WCC) has now been working with the Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital (QECH) in Blantyre, Malawi since 2009. Through a twining partnership between the University Medical Centre in Amsterdam and the Victoria Royal Infirmary in the UK, valuable knowledge, expertise and skills have been exchanged. In addition, treatment costs, equipment, and parent support – such as transport costs and follow up expenses - have been provided.
Earlier this month Liz and myself spent the week in Malawi with George Chagaluka and his team. As the end of a 5 year funding cycle approached, the aim of the visit was design a new model of support for the next 5 years. By identifying successes and challenges, priority areas were highlighted for the coming years. Time was spent with patients and their families to ensure appropriate support would be directed accordingly.
Meetings were organised with a number of different stakeholders including the Director of QECH to build relationships and increase support. Case studies were collected from dedicated ward staff, patients and their parents.
In addition, the trip nicely coincided with a Deutsche Bank trek to Mount Mulanji. 15 staff from the bank dedicated their time complete the challenging trek in support of children with Cancer. Liz and myself spent the evening with the trekkers to explain the issues surrounding childhood cancer and describing the partnership with the ward in Blantyre.
Thanks to all those who were involved in the visit and to the trekkers who put themselves through their passes!
World Child Cancer would also like to thank all those who have so kindly suppoorted the work in Malawi over the years. Your kind contributions have made real progress possible.
Our project in Malawi continues to progress and we are pleased that more children continue to receive the treatment and care they need.
Some project highlights and achievements from the last three months under the leadership of Professor Molyneux have been:
It is down to supporters like you that we can continue supporting children with cancer in Malawi. A big Thank You to you all!
World Child Cancer team
With your help hundreds of patients have received lifesaving cancer treatment in the last few years. But the increase in the number of patients accessing treatment - a very positive development - must be matched by increased resources. The team needs your help!
Some project highlights from the last three months under the leadership of Professor Molyneux have been:
Some objectives as the project moves forward in the coming months:
We appreciate your ongoing support; without the support of the global community many children suffering from cancer in Malawi would not stand a chance.
No child should suffer.
With your support and kind contributions we have been able to help hundreds of children diagnosed with cancer in Malawi.
Some of the team’s highlights over the last month include:
- An oncology nurse from Birmingham who was able to travel to Malawi and provide training to local nurses
- Chiku (a cancer survivor) who has started his own support group, aimed at raising awareness of cancer in his local area.
- The financial support which is now provided to children who need to travel for regular follow up treatment and procedures
- The amazing palliative care team who are accessing even more remote areas in Malawi, increasing the number of children who are reached
- Local medical students who continue to receive training on the paediatric oncology ward
With your continued support the team in Malawi, led by Prof Liz Molyneux, can help many more children who still do not receive the treatment they need to survive.
Priorities over the next few months include:
- Raising the capital to build an outpatient facility at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital
- Continued training for local nurses
- Support for patients through drug supplementation, welcome packs and follow-up
- Continued healthcare and community awareness campaigns
We thank you for all your generous contributions and kindly ask that continue to show us your support.Without this support many children suffering from cancer in Malawi would not stand a chance.
World Child Cancer
Project Reports on GlobalGiving are posted directly to globalgiving.org by Project Leaders as they are completed, generally every 3-4 months. To protect the integrity of these documents, GlobalGiving does not alter them; therefore you may find some language or formatting issues.
If you donate to this project or have donated to this project, you will get an e-mail when this project posts a report. You can also subscribe for reports via e-mail without donating or by subscribing to this project's RSS feed.