Today I receive a call, informing me that the Vice Chancellor of the University hospital would like to meet up with me. Joseph Dixon (Programme manager), Rizwana (Programme coordinator in Bangladesh) and I spent an hour ploughing through the heavy traffic of Dhaka, to get back to the hospital for our meeting.
The Vice Chancellor was well informed about our work and the twinning partnership which we support between BSMMU hospital in Dhaka and University College Hospital in London and British Colombia children’s Hospital (BBCH) in Vancouver. In our meeting we discussed about the current state of overcrowding on the ward. He informed me that planning for a new building has recently been approved, which will serve for all cancer patients and will have a designated floor for childhood cancer – wonderful news! Within our meeting, I found it really interesting to hear what convinced both the Vice Chancellor and the Minister that more funding was needed for childhood cancer. He explained that it was the fact that eminent doctors and nurses from across the world are willing to give their time freely to help our doctors and more important our children, that made him realise that more needs to be done in his country. It was really wonderful to hear about the impact that our work is having and that our support is helping to initiate change. On a different note, the Vice Chancellor did make the point that while our support is greatly appreciated, it is only fair given what Britain had taken from his country in the past, referring mainly to the Koh-in-Noor diamond that this would be returned. In laughter I explained that returning the diamond was probably going to be a little bit out of my reach!
The programme in Bangladesh is funded with UK Aid from the UK government.