Treating and caring for children who have Burkitt's Lymphoma
...at Bamenda Regional Hospital, North West Cameroon
For the past 10 years, MCAI has been funding the treatment of children with Burkitt lymphoma in the Government Hospital in Bamenda, Cameroon.
This highly malignant cancer is always fatal if untreated, and particularly affects African children. MCAI has employed and trained local nurses to deliver a chemotherapy regime, which can result in a complete cure in 60% of cases. This work has saved the lives of many children in the region. We have been fortunate to have the support of Professor Hesseling, a children’s cancer specialist from South Africa, who runs treatment programmes in two Baptist Hospitals in the area.
Over the last three years, we have seen a reduction in the number of children coming to the hospital in Bamenda with this cancer. In the past, we might have seen at least one new case a month, but in 2012 only two new patients came for treatment.
We have therefore had to consider carefully whether continuing the Burkitt lymphoma project is the best use of MCAI’s resources. In particular, we must decide whether the staff we have trained can maintain their skills when giving chemotherapy to so few patients. Our conclusion is that it would be better for children with this cancer to go to the nearest Baptist hospital for treatment
Over the last three years, we have seen a reduction in the number of children coming to the hospital in Bamenda with Burkitt’s Lymphoma.
MCAI funds remaining in the Burkitt lymphoma budget can be used to help very poor parents with transport and other costs. We also plan to maintain the Bamenda Parent Support Group, established two years ago, which will continue to assist local parents whose children have cancer. In addition, we will continue to employ one nurse for the rest of the year, as she doing valuable work on the children’s ward.
This has been a difficult decision, and we are keen to explain to the loyal supporters of MCAI’s Burkitt lymphoma project our reasons for bringing this 10 year project to a close. We would like to assure you that your contribution has been immensely valuable to numerous children, and greatly appreciated by their parents.