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.