Meet Nurse Nirmala

Nirmala is the Head of Nursing at Kanti Children’s Hospital (KCH) in Kathmandu, Nepal and has worked as a healthcare professional for the past 25 years. She has been working in the oncology ward of KCH for 11 years. While Nirmala and her team of nurses do their best to care for each patient, the oncology ward lacks resources to provide comfortable environments to every child.

“We have 26 beds in the oncology ward. Most of the time patients don’t get beds due to the overflow.” 

Nirmala explained that parents often lose hope for their child’s recovery, simply because they lack medical knowledge, and this loss of hope affects the child as well.

“Most of the time, patients are already hopeless, and so are the families. When a family member suffers from cancer, especially children, it’s a disaster for the family. They will be broken emotionally. Handling [adult family members] and counselling them is tougher than handling children, but once they understand the procedure everything is good.” 

Due to the lack of qualified staff and the low availability of medicines, the biggest challenge for many patients is affording treatment.

“Manpower and medicine are big challenges in an underdeveloped country like ours, but convincing the parents to continue medical treatment is the biggest challenge as they go through financial crisis. The saddest part is when parents decide to quit medical treatment due to financial issues.” 

While Nirmala is careful not to get too emotionally attached to her patients, she is a mother herself and is motivated to help the children grow into healthy futures.

“We have photos in the cupboard [of the patients] who survived. Some of them are studying to become doctors and engineers. Some of them are even supporting the hospitals in the ways they can. This motivates us to work very hard.” 

Despite the many challenges in providing appropriate care to patients, Nirmala is very proud of the work she and her team have done in caring for children with cancer.

“I am very proud of my staff. They are very dedicated to their jobs. There are only ten of us and we need 16 nurses for proper service. The hospital cannot afford more nurses. Even so, our motto as nurses is that, no matter what, we will do everything we can for our patients.” 

By training and empowering healthcare staff, by raising awareness of childhood cancer, and by providing emotional and financial support to patients and their families, World Child Cancer works to improve the standard of care for children with cancer in low-income countries around the world. You can help nurses like Nirmala save the lives of even more children by donating today.