Palliative care for every child who needs it: Five years in Bangladesh

With the vision of “Palliative care for every child who needs it”- partners, supporters and donors all came together last month for a virtual celebration of the five-year anniversary of The Children’s Palliative Care Initiative.

In Bangladesh, public and professional awareness of childhood cancer is dangerously low. Opportunities for early diagnosis are missed. Referrals are delayed. And there are not enough health workers with the specialist skills to diagnose and treat the disease.

While we are working to address these complex challenges, sadly there remains many children who will die from their disease. Palliative care refers to the phase of treatment when a cure is no longer possible and is concerned with managing symptoms and quality of life.

Since the initiative began in 2016, led by Dr. Megan Doherty and supported by World Child Cancer, there have been many improvements. A few to mention, the development of six new palliative care services for children with cancer and giving more than 30 healthcare providers leadership and training programmes, that saw over 2,000 healthcare professionals attend. Local trainers as well as specialists from Singapore, The UK, Canada, India, South Africa, New Zealand and Portugal have helped deliver specialised and advanced training for physicians, nurses, pharmacists, care assistants and counsellors.

It was an important day to acknowledge the work and progress so far, alongside representatives from the National Health Service in the UK, the International Children’s Palliative Care Network, and our own CEO at World Child Cancer, Jon Rosser. However, there was also an emphasis on the need that still exists. With more than 6,000 children developing cancer in Bangladesh each year, the lack of knowledge and skills surrounding palliative care needs to be addressed. Providing support for children and families was also highlighted. It is essential for parents and caregivers to receive vital information regarding cancer care and pain management, as well as emotional support.

We look forward to the expansion of The Children’s Palliative Care Initiative. It is a key priority to help more palliative care experts receive training so they can spread awareness and knowledge about palliative care for children, not only in Bangladesh, but also to other parts of the world where it is needed most.

Read more about the event and the initiative from Dr. Megan Doherty, along with the amazing supporters and partners involved to help raise awareness and increase the survival rates of children with cancer worldwide.

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Five years after developing cancer and two years of treatment later, six-year-old Tiwo is doing well

Read more

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14-year-old Hassan from the Machinga district of Malawi was diagnosed with Acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) last year.

Read more

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Meet Franklyn, now 17, who is fully recovered from cancer and dreams of becoming a doctor to help others

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Rebecca is now able to return to school after undergoing cancer treatment through World Child Cancer in Ghana

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Together we can close the gap in childhood cancer care.

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