Dr Shwe Sin is the Medical Officer at Yangon Children’s Hospital in Myanmar, where she has worked for seven years.
When first completing her medical training, Shwe undertook no cancer related modules but during an internship at Yangon Children’s Hospital (YCH) she noticed that only two doctors were working in the paediatric oncology unit. It was this experience that inspired her to volunteer at YCH for a further 18 months before eventually being hired as a full time member of staff.
Shwe has now completed a paediatric oncology fellowship at KK Women and Children’s Hospital in Singapore but is determined to do more;
“My only aim was to be able to do more to help cure my patients and to do that I need to undertake further training. I get very down thinking I cannot cure more patients but I soon turn this sadness into determination to do more for these children and their families. I will continually strive to deliver the best possible standards of treatment for all patients I encounter.”
After undertaking her training in Singapore, Shwe has first-hand experience of what childhood cancer treatment looks like for those in developed countries. With a lack of resources and awareness of childhood cancer, it’s difficult to replicate this in Myanmar but World Child Cancer is supporting doctors like Shwe to improve treatment standards for children in developing countries.
“One of our biggest challenges is raising awareness of childhood cancer amongst parents. Quite often a child will be presented to us with late cancers which could have been cured far earlier with a quicker diagnosis. Unfortunately, many parents also abandon treatment when they believe their child’s health is improving. This is often due to families being far from home and a lack of finances. However, by not completing treatment cycles the child’s cancer is unlikely to cure. The biggest barrier to treatment is a financial one.”
Shwe currently receives no support to help her deal with her own emotions and wellbeing, she uses prayer and meditation to ground her feelings. Counsellor Megan Cruise is now volunteering in Myanmar for three months to help families and healthcare professionals deal with the impacts of childhood cancer and will directly support Scwe and others on the paediatric oncology ward.
“It’s great that World Child Cancer is there to support families with nutrition, transport and the cost of drugs. Without this help, many more families would be unable to access the treatment their child needs to cure their cancer.”
If you share Shwe’s ambition to support children with cancer then you can support our work in Myanmar by donating to our Global Giving project.