Children
 Zimbabwe
Project #10856

Save the lives of children with cancer in Zimbabwe

by Kidzcan Children's Cancer Relief
Vetted

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.

Awakhile is very unwell
Awakhile is very unwell

Kidzcan wants to share a preview of 2015, as well as mention the key issues that took place during these past 3 months. The festive season was not the best moment for children with cancer. It was a sad Christmas and Santa walked into a ward full of very sick and sad children. Kidzcan witnessed the highest number of mortality rate in a while. The fact that children come from various parts of the country to access clinical cancer care (which is specialised) and can only be offered in one Central Hospital in the country, means, most of the very sick children have to travel all the way for treatment. Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals is situated in Harare and is a training Institution, which means, most specialists are resident there. This means some patients travel more than 800km, over 2-3 days to access cancer clinical services everytime they need review. Sometimes they arrive late when the cancer is very advanced, and worn them down. During such time, the treatment cannot wear the symptoms down, however, many times it wears their little bodies down.

The distance the families travel has increased the defaulter rate as well as the mortality rate. Kidzcan has worked frantically to ensure that cancer services are accessed by the children who require them. The organisation has been providing transport assistance, in terms of bus fares and phoning patients and their caregivers, to remind them of their review dates as well as check on their wellbeing. For those patients that are closer to Parirenyatwa, Kidzcan does homes visits to ensure patients do not miss their review dates. 

To date, Kidzcan has registered and assisted 1513 patients since 2012 (when Kidzcan database was established). A total of 266 (reported) children have lost the battle to cancer since 2012. Kidzcan has a national coverage, though in the past years, there is significant work that has been done in Harare, Mashonaland Central, Mashonaland East, Matabeleland North and Bulawayo Provinces. A total number of 273 children were registered by end of 2015, and 36 children have been registered since January to date. However, a total of 373 are active in Kidzcan database, this is due to the high defaulter rate as well as children with non confirmed cancers being assisted. This is an ethical issue, as cancer can only be confirmed through diagnostic investigations, which are normally paid for by Kidzcan. During the month of December only, 11 children lost the battle to cancer, and today one of Kidzcan's greatest warriors Kuda lost the fight. He was waiting to be flown to South Africa for advanced medicines, and he could not make it. Kuda fought with so much courage and conquered the pain. 

The fact that each child requires various services continuously depending on the protocol/management profile, some children get services daily, weekly or even monthly depending on the type of cancer, condition, stage of cancer, management protocol and severity of the condition therefore, Kidzcan exceeded all planned targets  for the year 2015. The following new targets were reached:

  • Diagnostic Imaging tests-281 services were provided, Laboratory tests - 878, Blood and Blood products - 209 were given to children, and 2672 critically needed oncology drugs were bought for the children with cancer. Some of the drugs were imported from international pharmacies due to chemotherapy drug shortages in the country.
  • A total of 6 visits to South Africa by children with cancer were supported by Kidzcan. Three visits to Johannesburg Baragwanath Hospital and three visits to Red Cross Memorial Hospital, Cape Town for advanced medicines, was paid for by Kidzcan.

Through the assistance from Kidzcan (diagnostics), there is improved accuracy in the management and care of children with cancer because of the ability to detect the presence, location and type of cancers affecting children. The patients with blood related cancers suffer poor prognosis because of continuous loss of blood. Therefore, the provision of services has evidently prolonged life and reduced morbidity and mortality ratio.

The defaulter rate has significantly reduced by 60%, otherwise those patients who would have not come back because of financial problems, distance, social and religious beliefs, are now coming back for reviews, through Kidzcan assistance.

Preview of Kidzcan Services Offered

       Type of Services                                                2015    Cumulatively

  • New Patients Registered                                    273      1513
  • Chemotherapy drugs and other supportive drugs  2559     9938
  • Diagnostic Imaging Services                              250       1214
  • Laboratory Investigations                                   581        2455
  • Blood and Blood products                                  168        1002
  • Supportive Services                                           6           77
  • Transport Services                                             486       1395
  • Nutritional Services                                            177        109
  • Outreach Programmes                                        440        2653
  • Advocacy Activities: Media                                 11          30
  • Advocacy Activities: Communities                       40          109
  • Regional Medical Assistance                               4            4

There are many lessons learnt for Kidzcan as an orgamisation and family. Firstly, Kidzcan has realised that there is intense need for cancer services in the rural and hard to get communities rather than the urban and proximal communities (Harare). The organisation has also realised that, it is very critical to work with the Ministry of Education, considering that the children spend more than 80% of their time at school, hence if trained, the teachers can help in early detection and referral of childhood cancer. It necessary to work and create awareness within other government ministries and stakeholder especially those that handled/produce or work with carcinogenic materials that pre-dispose individuals to cancer. Kidzcan has a very beautiful and new-faced website. All our friends and partners are encouraged to browse so as to understand the great work that we have done, and continue to do, (http://www.kidzcanzimbabwe.org/).

To date, Kidzcan has raised $46 197, with an outstanding balance of $ 33 803 to be raised

Mums are always by the bedside
Mums are always by the bedside
Mud run for Children with cancer
Mud run for Children with cancer
Running in the Mud for raising funds
Running in the Mud for raising funds
Kidzcan Fundraising
Kidzcan Fundraising
Zimbabwe is orange today to raise funds 4 Kidzcan
Zimbabwe is orange today to raise funds 4 Kidzcan
What  a lovely Teddy, Tanya will cuddle all night!
What a lovely Teddy, Tanya will cuddle all night!

Dear Friends

We need a Cancer-Free Zimbabwe and it must come now! Kidzcan has worked tremendously to ensure that the voices of the silent are heard. The season was fulfilling for Kidzcan as an organisation as well as the individuals that work in and with Kidzcan. It is delighting to note that Kidzcan, having assisted the youngest cancer patient (who was diagnosed at birth and currently 5 months), stood in solidarity with the rest of the world in carrying the plight of children with cancer forward. Kidzcan represented Zimbabwe and together with Namibia represented Africa during the Childhood Cancer International’s Light up Hope and Light it up Gold Commemoration in September.

With the aim of speaking more and speaking louder, Kidzcan made sure the messages on childhood cancer were broadcasted live in 3 national programmes from 2 radio stations. The month of September marked the beginning of loud voices and currently we have received more inquiries than ever regarding early detection and treatment of childhood cancer.

Currently registered in Kidzcan data base are 1834 children since 2012. Two hundred and sixty nine (269) children fought to the last (though they lost the fight), and 366 are active in our register. With the funding from our sponsors, Kidzcan is able to provide direct clinical and psychosocial care and support to the 366, follow up on those that don’t came back and train the health personnel on various skills that will allow them to make the hospital stay of children with cancer worth the life that they live. 

As we continue narrating the achievements, it is also pleasing to note that, to date Kidzcan (currently the only organisation that provides care and support to children with cancer) has supplied the following services: 9907 Chemotherapy/Supportive Drugs, 1205 Diagnostic Imaging (MRI, CT Scans), 2458 Laboratory Investigations, 980 Blood and Blood Products, 1336 Transport Assistance, 25 Supportive Services and 1023 Nutritional Support.

During the Festive Season, Kidzcan wants to ensure that the children who are confirmed to hospital also share the happiness and the love that they can ever experience. We will be sharing gifts and toys to be children confirmed to hospital. Confinement to hospital causes a lot of deprivation. Sometimes children look through the windows during visiting hour with the hope to see someone they love. Some children hope to see Santa bring them gifts and some want Santa to take them home or to remove the pain.

That dream came true for Tanya, a 7 year old little girl. Tanya who has Xeroderma Pigmentosa has been unwell for sometime and unfortunately her condition cannot be treated in Zimbabwe. Through the assistance by Kidzcan, Tanya travelled with her mother to Cape Town Red Cross War Memorial Hospital for further treatment. She travelled by bus to Johannesburg, however, her condition changed because of the 12 hours in the bus. Kidzcan friends helped buy Tanya and her mother a return flight ticket to Capetown and straight to Zimbabwe. The Executive Director also visited Tanya and mum in Cape Town hospital, and also the friends of Kidzcan brought her gifts and reading books. Tanya got many visitors and when I arrived there, she told me many stories including her experienced flying for the first time. She told me, she felt like a celebrity!

Even as we get closer to Christmas, let us remember those that will spend it under the blankets. We can give our gifts to Santa, he surely will bring them to the hospital and we have seen him doing it for other children. Santa told us he is coming to Zimbabwe Parirenyatwa A4 special ward on the 10th of December!

 

 

 Donations 363

Total Raise $ 42 894

So Long Tanya, See when you come home!
So Long Tanya, See when you come home!
Andrea: Kidzcan Founder/Childhood Cancer Survivor
Andrea: Kidzcan Founder/Childhood Cancer Survivor
Kidzcan Volunteers are Kidzcan Family
Kidzcan Volunteers are Kidzcan Family
The Golden Ribbon, Let the Stars Carry the Message
The Golden Ribbon, Let the Stars Carry the Message
Light up Hope and Light it up Gold!
Light up Hope and Light it up Gold!
In the Deep of the Night, the Light Shines Bright
In the Deep of the Night, the Light Shines Bright
Standing in Solidarity with Children with Cancer!
Standing in Solidarity with Children with Cancer!
Youngest Volunteer Standing against Cancer!
Youngest Volunteer Standing against Cancer!
Tanya and Kuda and the People that Love Them
Tanya and Kuda and the People that Love Them

Links:

Uno keeping warm with a Beanie and Poncho
Uno keeping warm with a Beanie and Poncho

Kidzcan cannot do it alone!  When we joined the Jenny Calderwood walk (a fund raising event organised by Peter House Groups of Schools), to me it was a fun filled day. After all, I had a couple of extra kilos to shade off. However, it got to a point where the crowd spaced out, and the people walked individually, with those of us, who couldn’t endure the distance and the terrain remaining far behind. Some had to be carried through, with a few wanting to give up and make it back to the starting line. At least I arrived in time for the closing remarks.

So is the journey for the children with cancer. Sometimes the pain is unbearable, though some are able to endure, a few fight to the end. Sometimes it becomes more intense towards the finishing line. However, children with cancer have been able to endure because of the persons, institutions, sponsors and donors around them.

Kidzcan envisions a compassionate world where children with cancer are given the chance to lead healthy and fulfilling lives and throughout the years, the organisation has seen more than 1800 children registered in our data base, 330 who lost the fight to cancer, 466 are still receiving care and support, and two are on remission. However, there are some that we have lost contact with, because when the disease becomes too advanced, some go back home on palliative care and never return again. Kidzcan continues to make follow up for children who do not come back, the organisation makes direct phone calls to check how they are coping. Some have died at home without adequate pain management drugs.

Throughout the years and with the support Kidzcan gets from our sponsors and donors (both individuals and corporates), we have managed to spend $ 260 960.91 on Chemotherapy Drugs, $ 291 306 on Diagnostic Imaging, $ 112 912 on Laboratory Tests, $ 140 700 on Blood and Blood Products, $ 32 688 for Transport assistance for children with cancer and their parents/care givers, $ 14 281 on Prosthetics and $ 3 820 for Nutritional Support. It is pleasing to note that only 6-7% of the total budget goes to administration and overhead. Within the months of June to August 2015, a total number of 204 children with cancer received support from Kidzcan. The following services were offered to the children with cancer, 1138 chemotherapy and other drugs, 51 blood and blood products, 66 diagnostic imaging, 127 laboratory tests, and 126 transport assistance. This is with the realisation that some children get the services continuously. Within the 3 months 23 of our little heroes and heroines lost the fight to cancer.

With more demand for Kidzcan services, the organisation has developed a new strategy (Kidzcan Strategy for Care and Support of Paediatric Oncology in Zimbabwe 2015-2018) that will guide and guard the scope and magnitude of the services the organisation offers as it grows in capacity as well as boundaries. Taking cognisance that, Kidzcan is the only organisation in the country offering paediatric cancer care and support services, identifying the scope and mandate demands that this new strategy plan be shared with all our sponsors and donors.

Through Love, Empathy, Integrity and Inclusivity, every child with cancer registered with Kidzcan has had the same attention given to the other.

 

Total Funding Goal Raised Funding $40 529.23

Total Disbursed to date $ 33 593.65

Kalya has to keep warm always
Kalya has to keep warm always
Walking to save lives!
Walking to save lives!
Power walk and a powerful heart
Power walk and a powerful heart
The greatest gift is to give.
The greatest gift is to give.
Tanya and her doll cuddling soon after chemo
Tanya and her doll cuddling soon after chemo
Successful Operation!
Successful Operation!

It is when we share our stories that we are able to reflect on our journey. Kidzcan has many friends and today we want to tell them how much they have made the winter nights as bearable as they could and the pain from cancer as endurable as it may be for children with cancer. The care and support from people who are concerned by the welfare of the children with cancer, has prolonged life for a child, given to another a smile and the ability to see the light of the next day. To the other, legs to walk to school and to many children, pain management drugs, so that they can spend most of their time playing, learning and out of bed, rather than in bed and seeing the world through a window.

It’s been a while since us, as Kidzcan shared what we have been doing and how the children with cancer have been doing. In Zimbabwe Chemotherapy drugs are very expensive and very challenging to source. Diagnostics services are also challenging within the Public Sector, and Private Diagnostic Services are very expensive and unaffordable to many. Specialised Cancer Services are accessible at Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals, which is the only Hospital that has a Paediatric Oncology Ward dedicated to treating children with cancer. Parirenyatwa A4 Special Ward is overwhelmed with patients referred from all provinces of the country (sometimes further than 600km). It is a long and agonising process for a child with cancer to access Specialised Services. Kidzcan has narrowed the processes by providing transport fees for the children with cancer and their care givers. The organisation also pays for Specialised Diagnostics Services from Private Centres, sources and provides Chemotherapy drugs among other things. MRI costs $ 1000 and a CT scan cost $500 from Private Centres. Chemotherapy drugs costs between $60-$320 per protocol. Some children have been on treatment more than 4 years.

In the last three months, 51 new patients were registered with Kidzcan for aid, 131 were been admitted in A4 Special Ward, 270 assisted with Chemotherapy Drugs, 80 with Blood Disorders Drugs, 50 with Specialised Diagnostic Services and 57 have been assisted with transport locally and internationally and Kidzcan met the bills. Kudakwashe (5 years) suffers from Xeroderma Pigmentosum. He travels with his mother to South Africa for Corrective Operative Treatment. He is the 4th born in a family of 4. His older sister passed away from the same condition and his mother is very concerned about his health. He has been unwell for some time. Kidzcan has worked extremely hard to make it possible for Kudakwashe to access care and treatment. He has been unable to eat because of the pain and had lost so much weight. On Friday the 6th of June Kudakwashe visited our office all the way back from South Africa. He was a happy and smiling boy, very much playful with a good appetite. He kept nudging his mum to buy him chips and he informed me that he would not share his chips with anyone. Kidzcan is also happy to announce that, two of the children with cancer are now on remission after successful treatment.

Michelle is 15 years now. She has been getting assistance from Kidzcan since 4 years ago. She was given a prosthetic leg and she walks on crutches since 2012. However,she has grown and the prosthetic leg needed to be replaced as she was finding it difficult to walk. Finally, another prosthetic leg and crutches were sourced and bought for her on the 29th of May 2015 by Kidzcan. Asked on how she feels about the new look, Michelle said she is very proud of her new height, gait and stature.

 Total Funding Goal Raised Funding $38,151.13

Total Funding to date $ 31,621.95

Remaining Goal Funding $ 6,529.18

Kudakwashe and Mum
Kudakwashe and Mum
Mum and Kuda
Mum and Kuda
 

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Organization Information

Kidzcan Children's Cancer Relief

Location: Harare - Zimbabwe
Website: http:/​/​www.kidzcanzimbabwe.org
Project Leader:
Dr Ntombi Muchuchuti
Executive Director
Harare, Harare Zimbabwe

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