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Mar 6, 2017

Resilient and Persistant Fight Against Cancer

Kidzcan Board Chair: Mr Dave Mills seriously muddy
Kidzcan Board Chair: Mr Dave Mills seriously muddy

A resolution was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on Political Declaration of the High-level Meeting of the General Assembly on the Prevention and Control of Non-communicable Diseases to which the Sates and Governments reaffirmed the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health. The members recognize that the rising prevalence, morbidity and mortality of non-communicable diseases worldwide can be largely prevented and controlled through collective and multi-sectoral action by all Member States and other relevant stakeholders at the local, national, regional and global levels. However, most rights are not attainable and/or are infringed due to lack of availability, lack of affordability and lack of accessibility of services, especially health services, that is, childhood cancer services in particular. The rising prevalence, morbidity and mortality from non-communicable diseases worldwide can be largely prevented and controlled through collective and multi-sectoral action by all Member States and other relevant stakeholders at the local, national, regional and global levels. This can be done by raising the priority accorded to non-communicable diseases in development cooperation and enhancing such cooperation in this regard.

Kidzcan’s activities in the quarter under review contributed immensely to the above affirmations. The organisation closed the year with a severe limitation in its financial resources. This was owed by the fact that the demand for Kidzcan services doubled half way through the year, hence the annual budget was chewed up in 6 months. The last 6 months of the year were literally a hand-to-mouth type of expenditure, with the limited funds reserved for chemotherapy drugs and blood products.

Kidzcan therefore, started the year at a high fundraising note. In many years, Kidzcan has made sure the fundraising activities are double pronged, that is, to raise the much needed resources, and secondly, for raising childhood cancer awareness in the country. Cumulatively, Kidzcan has seen 2260 children registering. Of all registered, 713 are active, 474 deceased, 5 on remission, 1485 lost to follow up, inclusive of non-cancer patients by the end of the year. In 2016, 368 children were registered, which is up by more than 40% from 2015. More positive to note, is the declined of mortality rate from 73 in 2015 to 59 in 2016 (22%). Of the anticipated budget, only 55% was mobilised. Hence the 45% deficit caused a lot of strain for the organisation. However, regardless of the budget cut, Kidzcan managed to carry out its planned activities.

During the month of January, Kidzcan participated and was the sole beneficiary for the mud run. This is one of the major fundraising events towards childhood cancer by Husqvarna and Innovate Gym. A total of $14 000 was raised and this figure made it possible for Kidzcan to buy essential and life serving drugs. A disbursement from GlobalGiving also made sure the blood and blood products for children requiring blood was paid for.

Another fundraing event for Kidzcan, the Orange Week for 2017 was/is a different one. The organisation virtually walked to Ethiopia via 26 countries in a bid to cover 100 000km and raise $100 000. The walk started on the 1st of February with the Deputy Minister of Health Honourable Aldriin Musiiwa giving Kidzcan an amazing send off at a colourful event covered live on TV and attended by friends, parents of children with cancer and partners. Kidzcan invited the entire nation to put on their orange shoe laces, take a walk, and donate their distances and their money towards childhood cancer management.

 Kidzcan virtually arrived in Ethiopia on the 15th of February (and the staff visited the Ethiopian Embassy) with His Excellency Mustafe Dek Abdisalam welcoming Kidzcan to the land of Ethiopia. In total, the Embassy of Kenya, Embassy of Malawi, Embassy of Ghana, Embassy of Botswana, Embassy of Ethiopia, and the Embassy of South Africa were visited.

The walk was meant to be completed on the 28th of February, however Falcon College has/is continuing to walk until teh 6th of April 2018, or until the target is reached. Thus the theme has changed to Keep Walking. Falcon College lost 2 boys to Cancer hence they will put on the shoe laces for the rest of the term and pay a fine of $2 rather than a proposed $1. Many corporates and individuals have bought into the Keep Walking theme, and has vowed to continue walking until the target is raise and/or childhood cancer is given the attention it deserves in the country.

The Honorable Deputy Minister of Health and Child Care Aldrin Musiiwa acknowledged the great work being done by Kidzcan in saving the lives of the vulnerable children with cancer in the country. in his appealing remarks, he indicated that “We acknowledge the work Kidzcan has is and will continue to do and we remain hopeful that rich countries and agencies resident in Zimbabwe and beyond will assist Kidzcan help children with cancer access treatment and care.” 

The youngest Advocate
The youngest Advocate
The Will to Save Lives
The Will to Save Lives
The children helping in the fight
The children helping in the fight
Together in the Fight
Together in the Fight

Links:

Dec 6, 2016

Children with cancer not only survive, but conquer

Michelle is a conqueror
Michelle is a conqueror

Children have the right to good quality health care, to clean water, nutritious food, and a clean environment, so that they will stay healthy (Rich countries should help poorer countries achieve this). These rights are listed in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Right to Health is enshrined in the Constitution of the World Health Organization (WHO) (1946).

 However, the rights of some children are compromised because they die at home and in pain, they spend many days/months in hospital and lose on schooling, they do not get medication either because the medication is not available, affordable, accessible, or they die without a proper diagnosis and/or treatment.

 Children with cancer in Zimbabwe have stood in solidarity with each other in order to bring their plight to the attention of the policy makers, development agencies, decision makers and concerned citizens. Kudzi and Michelle were one of the speakers during the Childhood Cancer International commemoration held on the 29th of September 2016. Kudzi who once contemplated suicide was pleased to see the new self after a successful operation. Michelle also refused to be called a cancer survivor and declared that she is a cancer conquered. She also said even though she had one leg amputated, she is not disabled because ability is not measured by the physically completeness of a human beings. Michelle questioned the citizens of Zimbabwe, the donors, sponsors and Development Agencies in Zimbabwe, if they were comfortable with the current scenario whereby, there were many cancer graves, than cancer success stories in the country.

 Therefore, as Kidzcan our desire is to ensure access to affordable cancer management services for Children with cancer reflected in increased allocation of resources towards cancer services provision in the national budget; to see Communities changing in their Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice and Behaviour, and ultimately increased concern regarding cancer as well as cancer causing habits and agents; as well as see Rich Countries and agencies of Rich Countries helping Zimbabwe as a Low Income Country, help children with cancer access treatment and care.

 In view of need for cancer services, Kidzcan registered 77 children in total, 30 patients in September, 25 in October and 22 in November. These comprised of 32 females and 45 males. Segregated by diagnosis, the children with blood disorders constituted significantly to those patients registered in the period under review with 31%, followed by other cancers with 19%, those with unconfirmed diagnosis with 12%, Wilms’s Tumour 9%, Retinoblastoma7%,  Rhabdomyosarcoma 6%, neuroblastoma 5% Brain Tumour and Kaposi Sarcoma at 4%.

 The children came from all over the country to the centralized services in Harare. Segregated by geographic area, Harare province recorded the highest number of patients with a total of 16 patients due to the proximity to the services. This was followed by Bulawayo with 10 (who have to travel 880 kilometers return), Manicaland (almost 600km return), Midlands (400 km radius) and Masvingo (around 800 km away)  at 9, Mashonaland West (around 200kn) and East (200km) at 7, Mashonaland Central 6 whilst Matabeleland South and North contributed the least with 2 each (close 1900 km return for each). During the period under review 12 cadres lost the battle to cancer, 9 patients lost their lives in September and 3 in November.  This number is high and, if detected early, cancer can be treated in children. Hence, teh children's lives can be spared.

Tanya came to stand in solidarity with others
Tanya came to stand in solidarity with others
Little by little, we stand together
Little by little, we stand together
A new me, the mass is gone!
A new me, the mass is gone!
She may not have seen, but she knew!
She may not have seen, but she knew!
Health is a right, and entitlement
Health is a right, and entitlement
Light up Hope for the Children with Cancer
Light up Hope for the Children with Cancer

Links:

Sep 7, 2016

Hope Abound

Kudzi Before
Kudzi Before

Kidzcan continues to work diligently to ensure that childhood cancer becomes part of the national health agenda through continued engagement with organisations working with children. The economic situation has remained strained and contentious with the local funding base shrinking as many companies struggle to remain in business. Despite the prevailing socio-economic challenges, Kidzcan remains committed to ensuring that children with cancer receive much need cancer services.

Since our last report in June 2016, Kidzcan registered 61 new patients bringing the total number of children registered in 2016 to 252 and total number of children in the database to 2 155.  There has been a significant increase in the demand for cancer services due to early detection and the awareness campaigns Kidzcan held during 2015. The increase in demand for childhood cancer services has put a major strain on the organisations budget, and your continued giving has and will go a long way to ensuring that children with cancer receive all the cancer treatment services they deserve.

In July 2016, the Kidzcan team embarked on an evaluation exercise to follow up on a group of health professionals (nurses and doctors) that were trained in Childhood Cancers management and Psychosocial Support for children with cancer in December 2015. The purpose of the exercise is aimed at measuring the extent to which knowledge from the training is being used and shared to ensure that children with cancer are receiving adequate management and psychosocial support along the continuum of care.  The team has so far travelled to Manicaland, Mashonaland East, and Mashonaland West Provinces and is expected to visit three more provinces before the end of the year.

In August this year Kidzcan lost one of the littles heroes. The little boy stayed 900km away from Harare, and because of the poverty in their family the mother had opted for a paupers’ burial. Due to the role that Kidzcan had played in his life, the organisation felt it was not appropriate to have a child buried almost a thousand kilometres away. A team of three travelled from 11 am and arrived in the village at 1 am. The remaining 30 km was in the bush and there was no road. The whole village heard about Kidzcan and they came to meet the officers and were very grateful.

In our work we usually come across incredible stories of change that inspire us to keep doing what we are doing. One such story is that of Michael and we hope it will inspire you to continue giving:

Michael’s Story

Michael (not his real name) is an Upper 6 student at Shamva High School. In February 2016, Kidzcan Staff visited Shamva District and spoke about childhood cancer. The crowd was shown a lot of pictures and they were told about the different types of cancers in children.  A member of the community who attended the Awareness Campaign remembered a boy from his village who had something similar (a mass growing on his neck) to what they had been shown during the campaign.  Below is his testimony:

                   “It had been four years since I last saw my face. I couldn’t look at myself in the mirror because my face was deformed.  I was having a difficult time at school and felt miserable. Everyone looked at me twice and some who dared would ask me what happened. A few others would whisper to each other as they walked away. My books were my only hope and my best friends. I longed for psychological freedom. Little did I know that Kidzcan will be my true friend.”

In April 2016, Kidzcan arranged for Michael to be assessed at Parirenyatwa Hospital, where he underwent a biopsy to determine whether the mass was cancerous or benign. He also had a CT scan done. The biopsy revealed that the mass was benign and thankfully would not need chemotherapy, the mass however had to be removed. Kidzcan, together with other well-wishers facilitated that he have an operation done to remove the growth in May 2016. His story continues:

              “After the operation, I looked at myself in the mirror and screamed! I saw something had not seen in a long time. I saw me. I got my hope restored. Thank you so much Kidzcan and God Bless you…

I have all the confidence that was stolen. I love the mirror and I love what I see. I cannot wait to get back to school and as the Head Boy, address the students.”              

                                                                            

Kudzi
Kudzi
Kudzi, Mum and Kidzcan Officers
Kudzi, Mum and Kidzcan Officers
 
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