In March a team from World Child Cancer flew to Dhaka to join the local staff for one week. The visit had a number of interconnected aims, and was ambitious in its scope; we had planned a range of activities across a number of disciplines – and hoped the detailed schedule would go to plan!
Previous visits in June and December 2014 focused on project planning/implementation by the local team and on nursing standards. This visit expanded the programme to cover medical training, fundraising (by local supporters), monitoring and evaluation – and documentary filmmaking! The visiting team was Dr Sara Stoneham and Nurse Caroline Knott (UCH, London), Ed Minor and Jane Page (Operations Manager and Head of Corporate Partnerships, World Child Cancer) and Marc Schlossman, a London-based photographer and photojournalist.
A patient with Dr Sara Stoneham and Professor Afiqul Islam.
We saw so much potential impact in the visit as planned – but had we all bitten off more than we could chew?
Looking back, it was a superb trip. The travelling team achieved its objectives – and feedback from the team in Bangladesh indicates they valued the time spent with us! More than fifty doctors from childhood cancer units across Bangladesh received training in a broad set of specialist topics. This included excellent training sessions delivered with the help of Dr Stoneham. A close-knit team of nurses benefitted from a week of hands-on workshops developed with Caroline, local volunteer Karen Ryder and nutritionist Randi Lauler.
Jane held fundraising training sessions with local and international volunteers, and met with a number of dedicated – and some potential! – corporate supporters. Marc spent every day on the childhood cancer ward, interviewing patients, families and health workers. Ed went through monitoring and evaluation exercises with the local team – and ran around like a headless chicken in an effort to help coordinate activities!
Amazing local student volunteers.
The visit motivated everyone: efforts to improve the services offered to children with cancer in Bangladesh have been increased tremendously. And thank you for your ongoing support – which means these improvements can continue far into the future!
Professor Afiqul Islam with patients and family members in the new outpatient department at BSMMU.
This work is supported by UK Aid from the the UK Government.