Meet Nurse Chandra

Strong, compassionate nurses, just like Chandra, play a pivotal role in caring for children with cancer in low-and middle income countries around the world. Chandra has been a nurse at Kanti Children’s Hospital, Nepal, for some 19 years now – with 13 of those years spent working in the Intensive Care Unit and the past six working on the Oncology ward. Having worked as a nurse for almost two decades, Chandra says it is knowing that helping the children feel well again that motivates her: 

“What we do is hard but all we want is for the kids to get better. That’s why we do what we do every day”  

As it is usually a nurses job to administer the children their chemotherapy, Chandra says that some of the children get nervous when they are around them. They do not understand that the nurses have to put them through what is often a painful process in order to help them.  

“The kids sometimes think we are hurting them – they don’t even like it when we walk near them. It’s because they are very vulnerable.” 

Chandra explained that while the nurses go through their own pain when caring for children with cancer, it is important that they remain strong in order to provide children with the best possible care.  

“We know they go through a lot of pain but so do we. We just have to deal with it because if we didn’t then there would be problems for the children in the future.” 

This emotional strength has proven to be important when dealing with parents, too: 

“While kids go through treatment it’s very hard on the parents. In many cases parents lose hope and become depressed, so we have to handle both patients and parents with proper counselling. Changing their mindset is the most challenging part.” 

The emotional difficulties of childhood cancer amongst patients and their families is often well documented but the impacts it has on nurses can sometimes be pushed aside. These nurses have to deal with the pain and suffering of children daily, whom they often grow close to. This is all whilst having to handle the pressures of high workloads due to being understaffed and managing complex cancer treatments. It is a highly emotional and stressful job. In some of our programme countries, World Child Cancer provides psycho social support for nurses as well as the families so that they are able to cope with their jobs and effectively treat children with cancer. In order to maintain a high-quality of nursing, we also support vital training in paediatric oncology. 

Dedicated nurses like Chandra are key to increasing survival rates for children with cancer in low-and middle-income. In many cases, if detected early enough, childhood cancers can be cured. As many as 80% of children with cancer survive in high income countries like the UK. This figure drops to as low as 10% in low and middle income countries like Nepal. By supporting nurses like Chandra we can help Close the Cancer Gap and stop children suffering unnecessarily. Ensure that more children with cancer have nurses like Chandra caring for them by donating today. £21 a month for a year could cover the cost of a nurses salary, at Kanti Children’s Hospital, for a month, ensuring children with cancer are able to receive the best possible treatment and care. Donate before 21st January and your gift will be doubled by the UK government, meaning your support will go twice as far.