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Apr 25, 2017

If Health Care Cannot Come to the Sick Children, Lets Bring the Children to it.

Rumbi giving her patient a thorough medical exam
Rumbi giving her patient a thorough medical exam

Kidzcan with your continued support remain committed to working for the betterment of the lives of children with cancer, their families and caregivers. This is in line with the mission of the organization of increasing the survival rate of children with cancer in a caring and loving environment. Childhood cancer services and management remain centralized at Parirenyatwa Group Hospitals. It should be noted, therefore that the cancer patients and their families travel long distances for services mostly by inappropriate means of transportation such as public transport with no provisions  for the very ill patients. This causes delay in the referrals with patients arriving in advance stages of illnesses.

Despite the harsh economic climate prevailing in the country, Kidzcan’s presence in the wards has been consistent and unwavering. Kidzcan in the quarter under review registered a total of 68 patients who received the following clinical services, bloods 78, Drugs 308, Bone marrow needles 35, Diagnostics 1, 1 wheel chair and clothes to four patients, 4 psychosocial support meetings with individual counseling and 11 transport fares.  Although Kidzcan provided a total of 11 patients with transport fares in the quarter under, review this falls far too short from easing transportation burden on the patients and the conditions associated with their long journey to the only centre that provides hope to the cancer patients and their families (Parirenyatwa).

Within the first quarter of 2017; only 23.5% of children registered by Kidzcan were resident in the capital city and province where the only cancer management institution is located whilst 76.5% were referred from the remaining 9 provinces of the country. On average the other provinces are 500 kilometres away from the centralized cancer services in the country. Worth noting during the quarter under review is that Kidzcan is not only taking care of the vulnerable children in Zimbabwean communities, as evidenced by the fact that the majority of patients from Manicaland province are Mozambican citizens who have been displaced by the civil strife in their own countries and  taken refuge at Tongogara refugee camp in Chipinge.  These patients in difficulties circumstances need our helping hand to access the much centralized cancer services with dignity.

The period under review also saw Kidzcan doing a follow-up on 2016 defaulters. The follow-ups established that 5 patients had lost the battle, 16 patients are now on remission, and 13 transferred either to adult wards or to other institutions out of the country and 19 defaulted as a result of lack of transport fares resulting in them resorting to readily available service providers such as Faith Healers, Traditional Medical Practitioners and herbalist which contributes to poor health outcomes.

Kidzcan provides psychosocial support to hospitalised children which also includes inducting them on what to expect during hospitalisation. There is less anxiety for both the children fighting cancer and their parents/caregivers.

Kidzcan PSS Coordinator During Induction
Kidzcan PSS Coordinator During Induction
Kidzcan Officer having a routine exam from Daniel
Kidzcan Officer having a routine exam from Daniel
Thandekile taking her mom's temperature
Thandekile taking her mom's temperature
Cecilia examining Kidzcan Director's eye
Cecilia examining Kidzcan Director's eye
Bryden School Raising For Children with Cancer
Bryden School Raising For Children with Cancer
Children for Children, raising money for Kidzcan
Children for Children, raising money for Kidzcan
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

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Jan 19, 2017

Cancer Services Inaccessible for Many Children

Tanya needs help to keep her skin moist
Tanya needs help to keep her skin moist

Childhood cancer services are not available within the Public Health System, in all levels of the system. Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals has been the only hospital with a dedicated childhood cancer ward. However, the hospital is not able to provide chemotherapy and other supportive drugs, diagnostic imaging is outsourced as well as laboratory investigations. With assistance from Kidzcan the children have been accessing outsourced services. Though the prizes from the private sectors are exceptionally high and limiting in terms of the number of children that can be assisted at any given time.  

During 2016, a total of 368 children were registered with Kidzcan, which totals to 712 children active in Kidzcan register, compared to 373 registered and active in 2015. The following children were registered from all the 10 provinces in the county, Bulawayo 29, Harare 108, Manicaland 35, Mashonaland Central 20, Mashonaland East 39, Mashonaland West 45, Masvingo 32, Matabeleland North 8, Matabeleland South 10, and Midlands 42. Only 29.35% of children come from Harare and 70.65% are from the rest of the country, with distances raging from 60kms to above 800 one way.

In between services, children need transportation and sometimes they get an ambulance which costs $15 per child, an amount that is not affordable by many. There are some that are quite sick and the mothers have to carry the children on their backs regardless of age. One of the mothers who has a 9 year old son with brain tumour has been carrying him around from one service to the other.

        I have been carrying Mandisi on my back for more than a year. He has a brain tumor and is unable to walk or even stand. He has been in the hospital for more than 4 months and is waiting for radiotherapy. The machine is not working these days and we are still waiting.

The Radiotherapy Department is a bit out of the main hospital and walking with him on my back is such a challenge. He is 9 years now and very heavy.

The hospital has no transport to carry us around, I am sure they are reserving the ambulance for other serious cases.

The wheel chair will be ideal, however, his back is very weak and he cannot sit up straight. I will need someone to hold his head which keeps falling back.

       Mandisi is not the only case, there are many such cases and mothers have to carry their children ranging from very small ones to the almost 10 years old.       

In total Kidzcan assisted children with cancer with the following services, Drugs 1658, Bloods 270, Laboratory 92, Diagnostics 194, and Transport 388. The organisation continues to advocate and demand government commitment to management of childhood cancer. During the Childhood cancer commemoration, children came with the hope of hearing better commitment and fruitful promises, however, the challenges with the public health sector affect service provision. Childhood cancer has not received the consideration it deserves and there are very few partners funding it. Rich counties and agenceies of rich countries resident and/or representing ttheir countries have also not taken keen interests in assisting the government in childhood cancer management. The Political Declaration on NCDs, the WHO GAP and GMF on NCDs and the World Cancer Declaration signals international consensus around the importance of NCDs across the life course, however, the unavailability of aid towards cancer management and treatment negates the purpose of the agenda.

Kidzcan desires

  • 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 (KAPB), and ultimately increased concern regarding cancer as well as cancer causing habits and agents.
  • To see Rich Countries and agencies of Rich Countries helping Zimbabwe as a Low Income Country, help children with cancer access treatment and care.

 There will be more positives if all disciplines take their keen roles.

 
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