District 105C “Children and Cancer” Project
Lions Clubs International Foundation has 5 projects which we aim to support. They are Diabetes, Sight, Environment, Hunger and the latest one is Children and Cancer.
With the agreement of District Governor Clive, one of my District projects as Global Service Team coordinator is the support “Children and Cancer”.
Successful treatment of Childhood cancer rates in developed countries in 2019 is as high as 80%, but in the developing world it is as low as 10%.
An organisation called World Child Cancer works to improve this and in 2012 they contacted our Regional Paediatric Oncology unit in Leeds to ask if they would give help, professional training and guidance to the medical teams in Cameroon, West Africa.
Approximately 1,000 Cameroon children are expected to develop Cancer each year, but until Leeds became involved there was little or no knowledge of how to diagnose or treat the children, with a lack of any appropriately trained health care professionals.
So Why Was There a Need?
- There was an increasing demand for Children’s cancer services but without any adequate facilities.
- There was a lack of appropriate treatment protocols for most children’s tumours.
- There was a lack of appropriately trained healthcare professionals with the knowledge to diagnose and treat children’s cancers.
- There was a lack of funding for diagnostic tests and medicines.
- There is poor accessibility to hospitals for many children due to the distances to travel and poor road infrastructure.
- There was a low awareness of children’s cancers in Cameroon generally and frontline health workers in particular.
- Many families were forced to abandon treatment due to catastrophic expense and long stays away from home and their families.
What has been the impact since World Child Cancer and Leeds Paediatric Oncology have been involved
- Specialist training has been given to a lead paediatrician who returned to Cameroon in 2017.
- 470 newly diagnosed children with cancer have been supported in 3 hospitals in Cameroon.
- Treatment protocols are now being used regularly for children’s kidney cancer, tumour of the eyes and a bone cancer.
- Active parent support groups have been formed, (similar to Candlelighters in Leeds,) in conjunction with farming initiatives who generate the income.
- 3 active parent support organisations have been formed and a Family Support Home, (similar to Eckersley House in Leeds), at Mbingo hospital now provides accommodation for parents and families whilst their children are in hospital.
- With the invaluable help of the Leeds medical and nursing teams, the survival rates for some easily treatable children’s cancers have gone from 0% to 60% due to the training given to the paediatricians responsible for their care and the benefit of the well used treatment protocols which we use to treat our children in the UK.
What has been the impact since District 105C Lions became involved in September 2018?
- We are working very closely with World Child Cancer and a colleague from Leeds to try to identify how we can best help the children in Cameroon.
- Lions Clubs throughout the District are raising funds to support World Child Cancer and the Leeds team in their ongoing programme.
- 3 Lions Clubs in Cameroon have been contacted to ask if they would be prepared to support the Children who are undergoing treatment and their families. The Presidents of each of these clubs are very keen to become involved in local fund raising, holding children’s fun events, providing transport etc. Prior to us contacting them they knew nothing of the new Paediatric Oncology Unit.
- The Head of the Cancer unit in Cameroon now has the contact details of these Lions Clubs.
As Global Service Team coordinator I am hoping that each Lions Club within District 105C will endeavour to hold at least one fund raising event for the project.
Between 1st April and 30th June 2019 any donations made to World Child Cancer will be matched by the UK Government. In addition we will be applying to Lions Clubs International Foundation for matched funding. To date we are delighted to say that over £2,000.00 has been donated.
ALL Monies raised by Lions Clubs will be controlled by World Child Cancer and the Leeds team and NONE will be sent to Cameroon Lions.
Since we began, this project has developed from being a local District 105C project to a truly International Lions Clubs project of we should be very proud.
Thank you to everyone.
District 105C Global Service Team Coordinator