Kidzcan Children's Cancer Relief

KidzCan Vision: A compassionate world where children with cancer are given the chance to lead healthy and fulfilling lives. Kidzcan Mission: KidzCan is dedicated to increasing the survival rate and ensuring the utmost quality of life of children with cancer in a loving and caring environment. Strategic Objectives: - Increasing the survival rate and ensuring the utmost quality of life of children with cancer in a loving and caring environment - To ensure continuous and secure funding for paediatric cancer clinical care and support services. - To ensure integrated programmes and processes that foster availability, accessibility and affordability of paediatric cancer services in Zimbabwe. - ...
Jul 20, 2016

Help Children with Cancer travel in less pain!

Since its formalisation in 2009, Kidzcan has registered over 2000 children with cancer and related blood disorders. Zimbabwe has two health centres offering diagnostic and treatment facilities for cancer and each facility covers a 500 km radius. Due to the limited treatment coverage many of these young patients have to travel more than 800km for specialised childhood cancer services.  Owing to the distances that they have to travel and other challenges, less than 20% of children registered with Kidzcan come back for services. Kidzcan, being aware of the challenges provides transport fares for both the children and their parents/caregivers to ensure continued access to clinical care and management of childhood cancer.

Kidzcan provided 83 patients with transport support in the last three months. This support covers travel from home to the hospital especially patients returning for medical reviews and chemotherapy treatment. The lack of skilled manpower and resources in various health institutions necessitates outsourcing of some services such as Diagnostic Imaging. Kidzcan pays for ambulance travel and transfers between hospitals and specialised services such as Diagnostic Imaging. Because most patients are arriving at hospitals with advanced ailments, it makes it difficult to transport patients without medical supervision hence, the use of an ambulance to transport patients between facilities is necessary.

Early this year, Kidzcan lost one of its patients who died on the bus while making a 600km journey home to be with his family. This patient was very ill and was discharged from hospital for palliative care at home. In the absence of suitable transportation the child and his mother were forced to use public transport to make the journey home. It is while making this journey that the child passed on. This not only affected the mother whose child died in her arms, it touched the lives of the passengers on the bus and the driver who witnessed this difficult occurrence.

As Kidzcan, we believe that it is important for critically ill patients to be transported in a dignified and comfortable manner, be it to or from diagnostic testing, transfers between hospitals or as they make their journey home for palliative care. We also believe that the presence of skilled personnel gives the patients and caregivers comfort knowing that there is someone there to assist should the need arise.

Help us raise $64 900 to purchase an ambulance, so far we have raised $100, and we still have a long way to go before we reach our target.

Transporting Children in Kidzcan
Transporting Children in Kidzcan
Happily arrived
Happily arrived

Links:

Jun 9, 2016

Children with cancer fight with greater hope!

With more than 2000 children that have passed through Kidzcan database, more are yet to come because of the Childhood Cancer Awareness Campaigns that Kidzcan holds. The organisation is using every avenue and every platform that it can get hold of, to share the stories and needs of children with cancer in Zimbabwe.

Less than 20% of children registered with Kidzcan come back for services because of many challenges, among them the distance from the One Specialised Hospital and the rest of the country. However, Kidzcan provides transport fares for both the children and their parents/caregivers to ensure access to clinical care and management of children with cancer.

With the stringiest budget and minimal overheads, Kidzcan continues to give to children with cancer the much needed chemotherapy drugs, the supportive drugs, blood and blood supplementing products as well diagnostics. This has been made possible by Kidzcan sponsors and fundraisers, locally and beyond the borders and region.

During the reporting period, Kidzcan took Childhood Cancer Awareness and Advocacy to a higher level in the country. With an opportunity of meeting the Parliamentarians, Kidzcan made a mark by sharing on Childhood Cancer situation in Zimbabwe at a 5 day workshop, which presented the organisation to share evidenced information to part of the policy formers in the country.  

Cumulatively, a total of 150 new patients have been registered since January 2016, and 13 young heroes and heroines lost the fight to cancer during the same period. A total of 414 chemotherapy drugs, 100 blood products, 55 transport fare, 143 diagnostic services were given to children with cancer and 100 Kidzcan has had amazing fundraising raising events during the reporting period raising a total of more than $ 40 000. However, what was more important was that, childhood cancer awareness was raised in the communities that Kidzcan works in and with. As a way of getting feedback from what communities feel about the assistance Kidzcan gives, three stories from a mother, care giver and child were recorded and documented. Two stories are shared as follows:

Story One (Grand Mother)

I am Patrick’s grandmother and we have been here for more than a month. His mother has a 6 months old baby and cannot come here.

We sleep on the benches and I am so afraid of falling because the benches are small and I am a very old woman. Sometimes when the nurses are very busy or far from the ward by midnight, I sleep on the floor, but they don’t want us to, because they say the floors have infection. Patrick is very unwell, but he is a strong young man. He jokes about his ballooned stomach and tells people that he is a business man.

Patrick started vomiting and having a running stomach and his mother and I took him to the clinic and the nurses there said they could not see anything. His mother did not have money to go with him to the hospital and he got worse. We then went to traditional healers and they said they couldn’t see anything. His mother took him to various clinics. Later, the church raised funds for the mother to take him to Kwekwe hospital for a scan but when they got there, they were told that the money was not enough. They came back home, and Patrick was quite sick by them. The mother started doing piece jobs, washing people’s clothes and cleaning their houses. I was babysitting the small baby and looking after Patrick whilst she went for her jobs. She would come home in the evening and very tired because sometimes she cleaned more than 3 homes a day. Some would give her $2, some $3. She was trying to raise the money for the scan. She finally managed to raise $ 130 which was enough for a scan. The scan made it possible for the Tumour to be diagnosed. The doctors from Kwekwe hospital immediately referred Patrick here. I suggested that I would rather come with Patrick than let the mother go through the trauma, and I just realised I was right. She was not going to cope her with the baby in this environment.

Kidzcan is doing a lot, they have paid for all the scans and X-rays and have provided us with medication. They bring medication everyday. They work very well and provide medication though most of the drugs are always out of stock. As is, the drugs are out of stock, today and yesterday, that is 3 of his special drugs. Yet today he is supposed to go for an operation at Harare Hospital but they said today and yesterday there are no drugs. They are the ones that pay for medication, so I am not sure why the drugs are not available. This hospital does not give drugs.

We stay in Silobela, so coming here every 2-3 weeks costs a lot of money. I understand Kidzcan also gives money for busfares, but I haven’t asked. Other parents have stayed longer, therefore, I cannot even complain honestly. Patrick is stronger now, and I hope he will go for an operation soon.

Story Two (child with Cancer)

My name is Wayne and I am 3 years old (mother corrects him, and says that he is 5). I cannot remember when I came here, my head is very sore. I was told I have cancer and I don’t know what cancer is.

I came in with my mother and I get injections and many tablets. The injection is very sore and I am in a lot of pain. The tablets make me vomit. I stay in my bed and Kidzcan brings me dolls and other presents.

I want them to give me another doll, because I have a baby sister and she will want my doll and because she is a baby, I am supposed to give her. I want Kidzcan to keep coming back so they give me another doll.

I don’t like the nights because many children with cancer die at night. I don’t want to sleep, in case I sleep and never woke up. I know what dying is, someone stops breathing and their life goes away.

I know a lot of children with cancer who died. Another one died yesterday and I saw the nurse removing her. I did not sleep after that I was tapping myself so that I don’t fall asleep.

I am tired now, and I want to sleep, but I am not sure if people die during the day. Please woke me up when Kidzcan comes, I want to ask for another doll for my baby sister.

Mar 10, 2016

Kids of Zimbabwe Need Help to Win the Fight and they Need it Now!

Awakhile is very unwell
Awakhile is very unwell

Kidzcan wants to share a preview of 2015, as well as mention the key issues that took place during these past 3 months. The festive season was not the best moment for children with cancer. It was a sad Christmas and Santa walked into a ward full of very sick and sad children. Kidzcan witnessed the highest number of mortality rate in a while. The fact that children come from various parts of the country to access clinical cancer care (which is specialised) and can only be offered in one Central Hospital in the country, means, most of the very sick children have to travel all the way for treatment. Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals is situated in Harare and is a training Institution, which means, most specialists are resident there. This means some patients travel more than 800km, over 2-3 days to access cancer clinical services everytime they need review. Sometimes they arrive late when the cancer is very advanced, and worn them down. During such time, the treatment cannot wear the symptoms down, however, many times it wears their little bodies down.

The distance the families travel has increased the defaulter rate as well as the mortality rate. Kidzcan has worked frantically to ensure that cancer services are accessed by the children who require them. The organisation has been providing transport assistance, in terms of bus fares and phoning patients and their caregivers, to remind them of their review dates as well as check on their wellbeing. For those patients that are closer to Parirenyatwa, Kidzcan does homes visits to ensure patients do not miss their review dates. 

To date, Kidzcan has registered and assisted 1513 patients since 2012 (when Kidzcan database was established). A total of 266 (reported) children have lost the battle to cancer since 2012. Kidzcan has a national coverage, though in the past years, there is significant work that has been done in Harare, Mashonaland Central, Mashonaland East, Matabeleland North and Bulawayo Provinces. A total number of 273 children were registered by end of 2015, and 36 children have been registered since January to date. However, a total of 373 are active in Kidzcan database, this is due to the high defaulter rate as well as children with non confirmed cancers being assisted. This is an ethical issue, as cancer can only be confirmed through diagnostic investigations, which are normally paid for by Kidzcan. During the month of December only, 11 children lost the battle to cancer, and today one of Kidzcan's greatest warriors Kuda lost the fight. He was waiting to be flown to South Africa for advanced medicines, and he could not make it. Kuda fought with so much courage and conquered the pain. 

The fact that each child requires various services continuously depending on the protocol/management profile, some children get services daily, weekly or even monthly depending on the type of cancer, condition, stage of cancer, management protocol and severity of the condition therefore, Kidzcan exceeded all planned targets  for the year 2015. The following new targets were reached:

  • Diagnostic Imaging tests-281 services were provided, Laboratory tests - 878, Blood and Blood products - 209 were given to children, and 2672 critically needed oncology drugs were bought for the children with cancer. Some of the drugs were imported from international pharmacies due to chemotherapy drug shortages in the country.
  • A total of 6 visits to South Africa by children with cancer were supported by Kidzcan. Three visits to Johannesburg Baragwanath Hospital and three visits to Red Cross Memorial Hospital, Cape Town for advanced medicines, was paid for by Kidzcan.

Through the assistance from Kidzcan (diagnostics), there is improved accuracy in the management and care of children with cancer because of the ability to detect the presence, location and type of cancers affecting children. The patients with blood related cancers suffer poor prognosis because of continuous loss of blood. Therefore, the provision of services has evidently prolonged life and reduced morbidity and mortality ratio.

The defaulter rate has significantly reduced by 60%, otherwise those patients who would have not come back because of financial problems, distance, social and religious beliefs, are now coming back for reviews, through Kidzcan assistance.

Preview of Kidzcan Services Offered

       Type of Services                                                2015    Cumulatively

  • New Patients Registered                                    273      1513
  • Chemotherapy drugs and other supportive drugs  2559     9938
  • Diagnostic Imaging Services                              250       1214
  • Laboratory Investigations                                   581        2455
  • Blood and Blood products                                  168        1002
  • Supportive Services                                           6           77
  • Transport Services                                             486       1395
  • Nutritional Services                                            177        109
  • Outreach Programmes                                        440        2653
  • Advocacy Activities: Media                                 11          30
  • Advocacy Activities: Communities                       40          109
  • Regional Medical Assistance                               4            4

There are many lessons learnt for Kidzcan as an orgamisation and family. Firstly, Kidzcan has realised that there is intense need for cancer services in the rural and hard to get communities rather than the urban and proximal communities (Harare). The organisation has also realised that, it is very critical to work with the Ministry of Education, considering that the children spend more than 80% of their time at school, hence if trained, the teachers can help in early detection and referral of childhood cancer. It necessary to work and create awareness within other government ministries and stakeholder especially those that handled/produce or work with carcinogenic materials that pre-dispose individuals to cancer. Kidzcan has a very beautiful and new-faced website. All our friends and partners are encouraged to browse so as to understand the great work that we have done, and continue to do, (http://www.kidzcanzimbabwe.org/).

To date, Kidzcan has raised $46 197, with an outstanding balance of $ 33 803 to be raised

Mums are always by the bedside
Mums are always by the bedside
Mud run for Children with cancer
Mud run for Children with cancer
Running in the Mud for raising funds
Running in the Mud for raising funds
Kidzcan Fundraising
Kidzcan Fundraising
Zimbabwe is orange today to raise funds 4 Kidzcan
Zimbabwe is orange today to raise funds 4 Kidzcan
 

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