By Tim-Sky Media Services
Gertrude’s Hospital Foundation launched the second annual Childhood Cancer Charity Walk that seeks to raise Kshs. 10M in a bid to improve proper cancer diagnosis and treatment in children.
Slated for June 28, 2020, this year’s walk seeks to train at least two teachers in primary schools neighbouring Gertrude’s Children’s Hospital clinics, sensitise frontline health workers and lab technicians on the early signs of cancer in children and provide treatment to children diagnosed with cancer from needy families.
“This initiative is driven by the fact that with appropriate early diagnosis and treatment protocols that are risk and response adapted, more than 80 per cent of children with cancer can be cured and given an opportunity to live a normal life.
Unfortunately, most of us are not aware that signs and symptoms of childhood cancer are non-specific and are easily confused with other tropical infectious diseases or haematological conditions,” said Gertrude’s Hospital Foundation Manager Dr. Carol Waweru.
“The Foundation’s message is to educate the public that children can get cancer, cancer in children can be treated and sensitise health workers on the signs and symptoms of childhood cancers,” she added.
The World Health Organisation lists cancer as a leading cause of death for children.
Children with cancer in low- and middle-income countries are about 4 times more likely to die of cancer than children in high-income countries.
Some of the reasons include not having the illness diagnosed, not having access to affordable treatment and supportive care, or to, health professionals with specialized training. 80 per cent of children with cancer in developed countries are successfully treated while survival rate in developing countries is at 30 per cent.
Speaking during the stakeholders briefing meeting, the Chief Executive Officer of the National Cancer Institute under the Ministry of Health, Dr. Alfred Karagu, hailed the initiative by the Gertrude’s Hospital Foundation adding that this project comes at the opportune time where Kenya National Cancer Control Strategy 2017-2022 is being implemented.
“The government fully supports this initiative by Gertrude’s Hospital Foundation and Gertrude’s Children’s Hospital, a hospital that has made a huge impact in the paediatric healthcare in our country.
Cancer in children has a higher level of success in treatment than in adults hence the more reason why an initiative like this is very important as we work towards winning the war against cancer,” said Ministry of Health’s National Cancer Institute CEO Dr. Alfred Karagu.
“We laud such efforts by the private sector in supplementing efforts by the Government in the war against cancer.
Gertrude’s has even gone a step further and has partnered with the ministry to develop the first-ever childhood cancer registry that will inform the Government on the prevalence of childhood cancers in Kenya and ensure efficient distribution of resources,” he added.
With proceeds from last year’s walk, Gertrude’s Hospital Foundation has partnered with the county governments such as Nakuru, Nyeri, Mombasa and Garissa, trained 120 frontline health workers on the early signs of cancer in children and has supported the diagnosis of 9 children who have been linked to treatment.
Raising more funds this year will mean that the Foundation will impact more and help improve the survival rate of children diagnosed with cancer in Eastern Africa.
This year’s walk will be flagged off at the University of Nairobi grounds and targets over 1,000 participants including corporate teams.
The Walk will include both 5km and 10km at a cost of Sh 1000 for a T-shirt payable through MPESA Paybill Number 434593 and collection will be at Gertrude’s clinics.
Makini Group of Schools and UAP Old Mutual Group Ltd are among the corporates that have already committed to sponsoring this year’s walk.
It has also received support from the Ministry of Health through the National Cancer Institute and the Kenya Childhood Cancer Trust.
About Gertrude’s Hospital Foundation
Gertrude’s Hospital Foundation, a subsidiary trust of Gertrude’s Children’s Hospital, works with diverse local and international partners to provide quality health services to children from less privileged families especially in informal settlements.
Gertrude’s Children’s Hospital is a leader in paediatric care in Sub-Saharan Africa offering the full continuum of care.
A member of Children’s Hospital Association- USA, Gertrude’s Children’s Hospital benchmarks its care outcomes with the best children’s hospitals in the world.
The Hospital has been accredited for quality and safety by Safecare®- Netherlands, and Joint Commission International-USA.