Cancer Care for Children in The Philippines

by World Child Cancer
Play Video
Cancer Care for Children in The Philippines
Cancer Care for Children in The Philippines
Cancer Care for Children in The Philippines
Cancer Care for Children in The Philippines
Cancer Care for Children in The Philippines
Cancer Care for Children in The Philippines
Cancer Care for Children in The Philippines
Cancer Care for Children in The Philippines
Cancer Care for Children in The Philippines
Cancer Care for Children in The Philippines
Cancer Care for Children in The Philippines

Going into 2021, World Child Cancer hopes to be able to deliver the best possible care to as many children as possible. COVID-19 obviously still poses an obstacle, but our programmes will continue. To help address the negative effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on childhood cancer services and on follow ups and referrals, as well as on the healthcare staff working to treat and care for patients, COVID-19 guidelines, and protocols at the main referral centre at SPMC (Southern Philippines Medical Centre) Children’s Cancer Institute. We will also continue to help distributing vital medication at city borders where shared care facility staff can pick them up and provide ongoing care to their patients.

In the Philippines, World Child Cancer supported 98 cancer awareness campaign activities in 2020 at SPMC and across the Shared Care Centres. We hope that further awareness activities will happen in 2021. These campaigns have been vital to raising awareness of early signs of childhood cancer and expediating referrals to hospital before cancer becomes too advanced for curative treatment. This is an important part of our strategy to improve survival rates.

Advocacy efforts have progressed and are also planned to continue into this year. The government is working on development of a National Children’s Cancer Control Plan, to which SPMC and two shared care centres, NMMC (Northern Mindanao Medical Centre) and DRMC (Davao Regional Medical Centre), are contributing. We are delighted that Dr Dolendo was appointed to the National Integrated Cancer Control Council in 2020 as one of two doctors representing the medical field. The National Integrated Cancer Control Act of the Philippines oversees the implementation of new law. This is a very positive step towards ensuring there is governmental support for children’s cancer services in the long term, and World Child Cancer looks forward to helping support Dr Dolendo in the role.

Some of our local NGOs have continued to support psychosocial activities for patients despite the pandemic. By observing strict protocols we were able to continue carrying out necessary care and celebrate life activities for kids and families. In 2021 we recognise that this psychological support will be more valuable than ever in supporting many families of children with cancer who’s income has been compromised due to COVID-19.

Share on Twitter Share on Facebook
New infection prevention & control procedures
New infection prevention & control procedures

REPORT – GLOBAL GIVING – PHILIPINNES October 2020

Thank you for your support of World Child Cancer’s project in the Philippines. This year as for every country providing medical care has proven to be increasingly complex, due to the outbreak of COVID-19. For the Philippines however this was further jeopardised due to many people being displaced after a volcanic eruption in January, displacing many families. This consequently further weakened Mindanao’s poor resourced health structures.

World Child Cancer has supported five Shared Care Centres, where children receive treatment closer to their geographical location. Since the COVID-19 outbreak, World Child Cancer has supported the delivery of several interventions in order to ensure as little disruption occurred to children’s cancer treatment as possible. This included; the creation of COVID-19 guidelines and protocols at the main referral centre SPMC Children’s Cancer Institute, as well as educating families on infection prevention, and equipping Shared Care Facilities with Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). In addition, World Child Cancer helped provide transport from House of Hope for staff to enable them to continue service for families. Based on the SPMC hospital site, House of Hope offers accommodation and invaluable support to families whilst children undergo treatment. It helps prevent families abandoning treatment due to a lack of a place to stay and enables families to support one another through their children’s treatment. The accommodation has been particularly crucial this year as public transport ceased during lockdown. In order to ensure all medications were available during lockdowns, World Child Cancer also helped distribute medication to city borders where Shared Care Facility Workers could pick them up.

Another significant development is that World Child Cancer has partnered with Cancer Warriors Foundation, a Philippine-based organization for children with childhood cancer, to collaborate on a project aimed at supporting families of children with cancer in the Philippines who have been displaced because of the volcanic eruption in January 2020. Our support enabled children to keep accessing life-saving treatment.

Thanks to your support, World Chid Cancer can keep making improvements to Child Cancer awareness and treatment in the Philippines. From January to June this year 205 Children were newly diagnosed and able to access improved services at SPMC and the Shared Care Centres.

It is thanks to your support that we can continue to set precedents for the improvement of cancer care on Mindanao and in the Philippines. Thank you for helping to give children with cancer the gift of growing up!

Medical staff wearing PPE, Northern Mindanao
Medical staff wearing PPE, Northern Mindanao
Transport provided to House of Hope staff
Transport provided to House of Hope staff
Share on Twitter Share on Facebook

Thank you to all those who have supported World Child Cancer's project in the Philippines. Below is an update on the work you have supported. 

Programme update

With donations made through GlobalGiving, World Child Cancer has supported the development of the Mindanao Paediatric Cancer Care Network. This is in addition to our original partner, the Southern Philippines Medical Centre (SPMC), which has an additional five shared care centres in existing government hospitals in strategically chosen locations across the island. Each hospital has a paediatrician with an interest in childhood cancer and is supported to develop the skills and the level of diagnosis and treatment they can offer; only referring children to SPMC when they need treatment that is not available locally. This model has already increased the number of children diagnosed to nearly 400 a year and the survival rate for common cancers to over 65%. A significant reason for this increase is because care closer to home means that more children are diagnosed and start treatment, and fewer abandon it. It also means that the treatment has less impact on the family as costs and time away from home are far less. With more common cancers treated locally the team at SPMC has been able to focus on the more complex cases. We believe there is significantly more support needed for the network, both to improve care at existing centres but also to expand it by adding new centres to provide greater geographical coverage on the island.  

The impact of corona virus on the programme 

Children with cancer, who are immunocompromised are arguably the most vulnerable children in the world now. Whilst, so far, there are only a few cases of Corona Virus on Mindanao the government enforced a national lock down. This means that children from outside Davao have been unable to get to SPMC for treatment and that the shared care network is coming into its own. However, doctors are treating far more complex cases of cancer than they would have done previously – so support from SPMC is critical. 

We also have a duty to prepare all our programmes for local escalations of the virus – the potential vulnerability of the children demands it. We need to ensure that health workers have adequate “PPE” or personal protective equipment, both to protect themselves and to protect the children. We have seen in other countries that during the lock down families require private cars to get to hospital. For many the buses, which are now not running, are all that they can afford, so we have put aside a patient support fund which can be used to support families, and avoid children abandoning treatment on cost grounds; a decision that invariably leads to death. 

Expected impact of the project

This is a pioneering project of global significance. The approach has more than doubled the number of children with cancer that receive treatment on an island with many remote communities in under five years. In addition the survival rate for common cancers has increased to over 65% with initially just one paediatric oncologist. Further improvement is possible on Mindanao, but first we must overcome the impact of the Corona virus. 

Our work in the Philippines has taken on added significance as the WHO selected the Philippines as a pilot country for the WHO Global Initiative for Childhood Cancer. Proving that we have developed a model that can provide treatment in countries with few paediatric oncologists and multiple barriers to travel in a WHO pilot country is likely to increase our success when advocating for the implementation of similar models in other countries.  

Links:

Share on Twitter Share on Facebook
Family on the ward
Family on the ward

Around 1,200 children are expected to develop cancer on the island of Mindanao each year. Travel is extremely time consuming and too expensive for most families – it can involve travelling for days by foot, land and sea, which poses major challenges when a child develops cancer and requires diagnosis and regular treatment.

When we began our programme five years ago there was just one paediatric oncologist on the island who had recently returned to the country from training overseas. Just 180 of children that developed cancer received a diagnosis and begun treatment. Facilities were limited and just 45% of these children survived.

With the support of people like you, we have continued to fund the development of the Mindanao Paediatric Cancer Care Network which includes five shared care centres in existing government hospitals in strategically chosen locations across the island. Each hospital has a paediatrician with an interest in childhood cancer and over time is supported to develop the skills and the level of diagnosis and treatment they can offer; only referring children to SPMC when they need treatment that is not available locally.

This model has already increased the number of children diagnosed to nearly 400 a year and the survival rate for common cancers to over 65%. A significant reason for this increase is because care closer to home means that more children are diagnosed and start treatment, and fewer abandon it. It also means that the treatment has less impact on the family as costs and time away from home are far less. With more common cancers treated locally, the team at SPMC can focus on the more complex cases.

However, there is still so much more that we can do to improve cancer care for children across the island. With your support, we will continue to improve care at existing centres and also expand the network by adding new centres to bring treatment and care closer to home. This will improve the diagnosis, access to treatment and quality of support for children with cancer, and their families in the Philippines. Thank you for helping to give these children the gift of growing up.

Share on Twitter Share on Facebook

Thank you so much for your kind support of World Child Cancer’s project in the Philippines, where we are working to improve the diagnosis, access to treatment and quality of care for children with cancer on the island of Mindanao.

Over the past few months, our project team has seen a considerable increase in community involvement around our pediatric cancer awareness campaigns. Most notably, we have partnered with the WalingWaling Davao Rotary Club to distribute posters and flyers on early childhood cancer warning signs and symptoms to health centres and shared care facilities across Davao. At the shared care facility in Valencia which we support, members of the local community have developed their own activities to engage with, and advocate for, children with cancer and their families. This high degree of practical support from the community will increase awareness of childhood cancer in the region and ensure that more children are quickly and accurately diagnosed.

Thanks to the active support of the leadership team at Southern Philippines Medical Centre (SPMC), we have been able to strengthen our relationships with other medical centres on Mindanao and ultimately increase the number of diagnoses and patient referrals. By developing and sharing treatment protocols and training materials with other facilities in our network, we serve as models for quality cancer care on Mindanao. This means that our project is not only improving the standard of care at SPMC, but extending learning and growth opportunities to smaller health facilities across the island to ensure that children in even the most remote locations receive accurate diagnoses and quality treatment.

It is thanks to your support that we can continue to set precedents for the improvement of cancer care on Mindanao and in the Philippines. Thank you for helping to give children with cancer the gift of growing up!


Attachments:
    Share on Twitter Share on Facebook
     

    About Project Reports

    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.

    Get Reports via Email

    We'll only email you new reports and updates about this project.

    Organization Information

    World Child Cancer

    Location: London - United Kingdom
    Website:
    Project Leader:
    Zoe Macalpine
    London, London United Kingdom
    $7,463 raised of $8,419 goal
     
    73 donations
    $956 to go
    Donate Now
    lock
    Donating through GlobalGiving is safe, secure, and easy with many payment options to choose from. View other ways to donate

    World Child Cancer has earned this recognition on GlobalGiving:
    Add Project to Favorites

    Help raise money!

    Support this important cause by creating a personalized fundraising page.

    Start a Fundraiser

    Learn more about GlobalGiving

    Teenage Science Students
    Vetting +
    Due Diligence

    Snorkeler
    Our
    Impact

    Woman Holding a Gift Card
    Give
    Gift Cards

    Young Girl with a Bicycle
    GlobalGiving
    Guarantee

    Sign up for the GlobalGiving Newsletter

    WARNING: Javascript is currently disabled or is not available in your browser. GlobalGiving makes extensive use of Javascript and will not function properly with Javascript disabled. Please enable Javascript and refresh this page.