Children with cancer and their families face multiple barriers to accessing diagnosis and treatment. Some travel enormous distances from their homes to hospital whilst having to bear transport costs beyond the means of many families and others never gain access to the treatment they need.
Dr Jess Morgan, Leeds General Infirmary and World Child Cancer volunteer, first visited Banso Baptist Hospital (BBH) in 2007. It was here that she met Roger, a 10-year-old boy who had travelled with his mother from Nigeria to access the treatment he needed.
Many children and their families abandon treatment for a variety of reasons. Some cannot afford treatment, others are forced to return home because of continued loss of income whilst some never make it to hospital at all due to a lack of awareness or distance to hospital.
Over the next few years, as a newly qualified doctor, Jess made four more trips back to BBH. Despite being mainly focused on general paediatric and neonatal work on the wards, she still took the time to see children with cancer and to learn more about what was being done for them. After a chance meeting with Glenn Mbah and Dr Francine Kouya, both of whom Jess had met whilst in Cameroon, she was contacted by Professor Tim Eden with a view to developing a twinning partnership between Leeds General Infirmary and Banso Baptist Hospital, Mbingo Baptist Hospital and Mutengene Baptist Hospital in Cameroon. The partnership was soon formed and Jess returned to Cameroon in May 2017 alongside Dr Susan Picton and Nurse Rachel Hollis, lead children’s cancer nurse at Leeds General Infirmary.
World Child Cancer develops twinning partnerships between medical professionals in the developed world and those in developing countries. By also providing financial support to families, we ensure children with cancer have a faster route to better treatment. You can help support more children like Roger by donating today, just £50 could fund training for a healthcare worker on the early warning signs of childhood cancer.