Chimango and his mother at QECH
Services in Malawi for children with cancer remain strong, with Dr George Chagaluka now in charge of the ward and receiving distance support from previous lead, Prof Elizabeth Molyneux.
Prof Simon Bailey, twinning partner from the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle, UK, visited Malawi in March 2016 along with Prof Molyneux. They took small equipment and supplies with them and conducted daily ward rounds, as well as teaching the medical students spending time on paediatric oncology.
Through a corporate supporter World Child Cancer have been able to fund 2 new ultrasound machines for the ward which will be used in the diagnosis of abdominal tumours and provide a faster diagnosis than waiting for pathology results.
Children with Burkitt lymphoma continue to do well and we met one of the patients who was just about to finish his treatment at QECH.
Chimango has Burkitt lymphoma – a cancer of the lymphatic system. He had been at the Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital (QECH) in Blantyre for 3 months when we met him, about to receive his final cycle of chemotherapy and due to to go back to his village the following week. He is from the Northern region of Malawi where he lives with his mother, father, and five siblings – three brothers and two sisters.
Chimango’s mother – Tafadzwa - first noticed there was something wrong with her son when his neck became swollen and swore. Chimango progressively became sicker with fever and flu type symptoms. He was nauseous, constantly tired, and would wake up sweating. His mother took him to the local clinic where they referred to a hospital in Lilongwe. After several tests Chimango was sent to QECH with suspected Burkitt lymphoma.
Chimango received the treatment he needs from the hard working and dedicated medical staff at QECH. He responded well to his chemotherapy and doctors are hopeful he will make a full recovery. Tafadzwa is extremely thankful for the medicine her son has received but life was hard on the ward and she was constantly worried about money to support the long stay away from home. Tafadzwa left behind her severely disabled husband who cannot work and is heavily reliant on Chimango’s brothers who earn a small amount of money farming their land. When the rains come their land can be flooded and their crops destroyed, leaving the family with very little to survive on.
Chimango and Tafadzwa are both happy to be back home. Chimango wanted to go back to school and Tafadzwa was eager to help out on the farm.
With the help of our supporters, we can continue to make life coping with childhood cancer treatment a little more comfortable for children like Chimango, and his family. Building resilient families and ensuring that children can complete their treatment is one of the main goals of World Child Cancer.
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