Rachel Hollis is a Children’s Cancer Nurse from Leeds with many years of experience working with children and young people with cancer. She is a Fellow of the Royal College of Nursing of the United Kingdom. Over the time of her professional career she has seen the survival rates for children in the UK improve to over 80%.
Rachel has travelled widely in low and middle income countries, particularly in Africa. She is keenly aware of the global inequalities in access to health care, and in particular the impact that has on children. She knows that low survival rates for childhood cancer in low and middle income countries can be improved significantly with access to treatment protocols which are directed to the available resources in these settings. In order for this to happen, expert nursing care is essential.
Rachel is a passionate advocate for nurses and the fundamental role they play in cancer care for children. She has taken this advocacy role from the local and national arena, to the International Society for Paediatric Oncology (SIOP) where she has worked with nurses from a range of low and middle income countries to develop ‘baseline standards’ for nursing, which have been endorsed by World Child Cancer (http://siop-online.org/nurses-2/).
It was at SIOP that Rachel first became aware of the work of World Child Cancer, and became first a supporter, and now a Trustee of the Charity. It was also at SIOP that Rachel first met members of the team from the childhood cancer treatment programme from Cameroon, supported by World Child Cancer. Rachel and colleagues from the Leeds Children’s Hospital are now supporting the continuing development of the programme through a ‘twinning’ partnership, alongside their expert and longstanding partners Professor Peter Hesseling from Cape Town, and Dr Paul Wharin of the Beryl Thyer Memorial Africa Trust.
Rachel’s first visit to Cameroon was in May 2017, where she spent time with programme manager and Nurse Glenn Mbah and the rest of the nursing team to establish their priorities in continuing to develop the role of the nurses, who demonstrate such an inspiring level of experience, dedication and commitment to the programme. With the support of World Child Cancer, Rachel and the rest of the multidisciplinary team in Leeds will be working with Dr Francine Kouya, Glenn, and the whole team in Cameroon to strengthen and further develop a programme that is already delivering both improved survival and, for children who cannot be treated, dedicated palliative care.
Rachel tells us more about the twinning partnership from beautiful Cameroon :