Many of the children with cancer in our programmes are malnourished. This often stems from their illness – they may find it hard to swallow, have an upset stomach or no appetite. It is also a result of living in poverty with limited access to protein-rich foods.
World Child Cancer helps support children’s nutritional needs in a number of ways. Children receive the food and supplements they need, both while they are receiving treatment and after they leave the ward.
Providing high protein formula drinks, vitamin supplements and snacks helps children to build up their strength. This helps them tolerate the effects of chemotherapy and recover more quickly.
Educating healthcare workers – in particular nurses – on how to correctly meet each child’s needs is also an important focus.
As well as meeting the child’s protein and energy requirements, staff are encouraged to provide the children with choice and variety where possible. This is proven to help prevent them from losing interest in food.
“If the child is old enough, I will sit down with them and explain to them why nutrition is important and have a conversation about what they would like to eat. For younger children, it is important to educate the parents and talk to them about what their child needs and which foods are safe and unsafe to eat.”
Involving parents is also key if children are to thrive beyond treatment. In Mbingo, Cameroon, a nutritionist was engaged at the ‘We Care’ Parents Home. They provide dietary counselling and teach families how to make nutritional meals with locally available food.
Often the parents who accompany their children have left their homes and their livelihoods and so cannot afford to eat properly. World Child Cancer ensures that they also have access to healthy meals as they go through this challenging time.
Could you help support families of children with cancer? £17.50 could fund nutritional support for a child and their family during treatment for cancer in Cameroon for a whole week.
Click here to download our free, nutritionist-approved recipe e-book
Read more about our catch-up with Rebecca in July 2021 after undergoing cancer treatment through World Child Cancer in Ghana five years ago.Read more
Five years after developing cancer and two years of treatment later, six-year-old Tiwo is doing wellRead more
14-year-old Hassan from the Machinga district of Malawi was diagnosed with Acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) last year.Read more
Meet Franklyn, now 17, who is fully recovered from cancer and dreams of becoming a doctor to help othersRead more
Rebecca is now able to return to school after undergoing cancer treatment through World Child Cancer in GhanaRead more
Prince went on to become a childhood cancer advocate and help many other children just like him when he recovered from leukaemia. Read MoreRead more
Meet Estaphanie, who is excited to start university after being forced to take time out of school following a cancer diagnosisRead more
Bulu is looking forward to following in his brother’s footsteps getting back on the football fieldRead more
Oscar was six years old when his mother noticed a swelling on his tummy and took him to a traditional village doctorRead more
Together we can close the gap in childhood cancer care.