Children with cancer in low-and middle-income countries face many barriers to receiving treatment. In the few cases where children do receive and accurate diagnosis and begin treatment, the immense emotional and financial costs can be crippling and means that many families often feel forced to abandon treatment mid-way through.
Families often have to travel long distances to reach their nearest hospital where they may be sent away with an incorrect diagnosis or to another hospital. Many children are referred to numerous different hospitals before receiving an accurate diagnosis. In many low-and middle-income countries there are often only one or two specialist hospitals able to treat childhood cancer, if any. These hospitals are usually based in the main cities, making it difficult to reach for those travelling from rural areas. These long, tiring journeys can put enormous financial strains on families who often already struggle for money. As well as this, many parents have no source of income whilst staying at hospital, as their workplaces are many miles from the hospital. The accumulating treatment and medication costs add to this burden.
On top of the financial pressures, childhood cancer can have drastic impacts on families’ well-being. Knowing not only that your child has cancer but that, one day, you may no longer be able to pay for their treatment to get better, can take a huge emotional toll on parents. For children, having cancer can be scary, confusing and isolating, especially when they are being treated at hospitals far away from home for long periods of time.
World Child Cancer works to reduce treatment abandonment rates and to limit the damage caused by cancer within families. We provide financial support to some of the most vulnerable families to ensure that they are able to pay for travel and treatment costs, so their child receives the treatment they so desperately need. In some of our programmes we also provide parents the skills and starting materials to set up their own business, so they are able to provide for their family once they return home. We run counselling services for parents and children alike to help them cope with the harsh reality of childhood cancer and to give them the confidence to complete treatment. In some of our programmes, play rooms and education programmes give children stress relief from their daily lives spent in bed.
You could financially support a family by donating £4 a month for a year, covering the cost of a round of life-saving chemotherapy for a child with cancer. Donate to our Close the Cancer Gap appeal before 21st January 2020 and your donation will be doubled by the UK government, meaning your support will go twice as far.