A message from Dr Francine

Greetings to all our supporters everywhere!

Yesterday evening I was reading a topic in SIOP News Issue no 41, entitled “Paediatric oncology in Developing Countries: How can the SIOP and ASPHO membership collaborate?” Some of the points mentioned included career opportunities, funding, establishing programmes, feasibility of treatment, and demonstrating ‘twinning’ approaches. As I was reading this I reflected that our own programme has demonstrated success in some of these areas.
Since 2003, what has been achieved as far as paediatric oncology is concerned here in Cameroon? Going back to the Cancer Pond Registry we see that 700 children with Burkitt’s Lymphoma (BL) were treated in our 3 centres, and 28 children with Wilms’ tumour (WT)  under the leadership of Prof Hesseling. A service of palliative care is also available and it is offered whenever there is a need for it.
At the beginning of this year, our services were extended to provide care to children with retinoblastoma and Kaposi sarcoma.  A Support Group has been put in place. Of the children with BL and WT, many would have died in pain and misery without the treatment we can now offer.
We are still facing some challenges, especially the children with Wilms’ tumour. It has not been easy to manage these patients. After the children have received chemotherapy, many of the guardians decline the necessary surgery despite vigorous counselling.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank each of you for joining us in our battle against childhood cancer. We are grateful to Prof Hessling for writing our protocols and for all his trips here in Cameroon as he continues to teach us. We appreciate his availability by email to answer various questions and offer further contributions.
To Dr Paul, Dr Peter and the other trustees of BTMAT, we thank you all for the financial support to run these programmes. Your ideas and suggestions help us to improve the care of our children.
To Baxter Oncology and Swiss Cancer League , and World Child Cancer, we are all grateful that you have stood by our side in this war against childhood cancer.
On behalf of the team in Cameroon, we want to reassure you that we will continue to treat these children. We will continue to offer our best to these families with your support. We will continue to use the resources at our disposal judiciously.
We wish you all a Merry Christmas and a wonderful New Year!
Dr Kouya Francine
Supervisor of Paediatric Oncology for Cameroon Baptist Convention Health Board
Mbingo Baptist Hospital
N W Region, Cameroon

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