Projects in progress: a UK Aid Match team visit to Malawi

In May, Gem Clark, Fund Portfolio Manager for UK Aid Match, and Emma Hayward, Performance and Risk Manager for UK Aid Match travelled to Malawi to visit four grant holders: CBM Global, SightsaversUNICEF and World Child Cancer.

One term that was used by all grant holders throughout the visits was ‘poly-crisis’. In recent months and years, Malawi has suffered from multiple crises such as ongoing impacts of COVID-19, the global economic crisis, a cholera outbreak, and most recently a devastating cyclone. These issues are in addition to the already challenging Malawi context, where road quality/access, fuel shortages and increased cost of living are real barriers to organisations delivering projects.

During these visits, the team had a chance to see how the grant holders’ projects were progressing, learn more about how the ‘poly-crisis’ is affecting them, and hear from the communities on how the projects are positively impacting them. 

Below is the short write-up from the World Child Cancer visit.

Aida, Play Therapist, leading a play therapy session

Reducing child mortality in Malawi whilst increasing wellbeing and quality of life – World Child Cancer

In Malawi an estimated 1,100 children develop cancer every year. Due to the lack of health care knowledge and training on identifying early warning signs and symptoms (EWSS) of childhood cancer, only a quarter of children diagnosed will survive.

Through its two-year UK Aid Match project, World Child Cancer is delivering training for health workers and supporting families to ensure that cancer can be diagnosed early, and that treatment is completed. The project is working across 14 Districts in South and Eastern Malawi to improve the quality of life and wellbeing of children and their families affected by cancer.

Often when there is detection of cancer in a child, the first point of contact is a community hospital, where staff lack advanced knowledge and means of diagnosis and further treatment. Now that they have been trained in EWSS, community health workers are able to quickly refer families to District or Central hospitals for further tests. In addition, the project is supporting Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital (QECH) via outsourcing an independent pathology lab, which allows for immediate, free testing for families and significantly speeds up diagnosis and treatment. Although the current ‘poly-crisis’ has increased the cost of transport, immediate travel to QECH is essential to ensure children can get the treatment they need. The project is offering support to families through transport grants and providing welcome packs on being admitted to the hospital. This is perceived as essential psychosocial support to families who commute from long distances without the basic items they need to stay in hospital.

Another important part of the project is the provision of play therapy sessions, designed to reduce the fear and anxiety children often feel when undergoing treatment. Through UK Aid Match, Malawi’s first paediatric oncology Play Therapist is now trained and offering support to children and families on the ward at the QECH.

By removing some of the economic and psychological barriers to seeking treatment, World Child Cancer is making sure that treatment isn’t abandoned, which increases the child’s chance of becoming cancer free and living a healthy and happy life.

 

Uttam’s Story

Meet Uttam – just one of the 662 children as part of our ‘Closing the Cancer Gap’ appeal, including matched funding from the UK Government. 

Read more

Alile’s Story

Discover Alile’s journey through cancer as recounted by her mother, from the initial symptoms to diagnosis and treatment.

Read more

Naa’s Story

We first met Naa in 2016 when she was diagnosed with Wilm’s Tumour at 7 years old. In 2021 the cancer returned and Naa underwent treatment again. She has battled cancer twice and is now back in school.

Read more

Joseph’s update

We first met Joseph in 2019 after he was diagnosed with Leukaemia. Find out more how he is doing after his successful treatment.

Read more

Kayin’s story

Kayin was diagnosed with Burkitt’s Lymphoma. He is now working as a carpenter and is feeling happy and strong.

Read more

Rebecca’s Update

Read more about our catch-up with Rebecca after undergoing cancer treatment through World Child Cancer in Ghana six years ago.

Read more

Discover More Stories…

Uttam’s Story

Meet Uttam – just one of the 662 children as part of our ‘Closing the Cancer Gap’ appeal, including matched funding from the UK Government. 

Read more

Alile’s Story

Discover Alile’s journey through cancer as recounted by her mother, from the initial symptoms to diagnosis and treatment.

Read more

Naa’s Story

We first met Naa in 2016 when she was diagnosed with Wilm’s Tumour at 7 years old. In 2021 the cancer returned and Naa underwent treatment again. She has battled cancer twice and is now back in school.

Read more

Joseph’s update

We first met Joseph in 2019 after he was diagnosed with Leukaemia. Find out more how he is doing after his successful treatment.

Read more

Kayin’s story

Kayin was diagnosed with Burkitt’s Lymphoma. He is now working as a carpenter and is feeling happy and strong.

Read more

Rebecca’s Update

Read more about our catch-up with Rebecca after undergoing cancer treatment through World Child Cancer in Ghana six years ago.

Read more

Hassan’s story

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

Read more

Tiwo’s story

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

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Franklyn’s Story

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

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Rebecca’s Success Story

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

Read more

My road to recovery

Prince went on to become a childhood cancer advocate and help many other children just like him when he recovered from leukaemia. Read More

Read more

Estaphanie is excited to start university!

Meet Estaphanie, who is excited to start university after being forced to take time out of school following a cancer diagnosis

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Meet Bulu

Bulu is looking forward to following in his brother’s footsteps getting back on the football field

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Meet Oscar

Oscar was six years old when his mother noticed a swelling on his tummy and took him to a traditional village doctor

Read more
Will you join us?

Together we can close the gap in childhood cancer care.

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