Major child cancer congresses organised by the International Society of Paediatric Oncology (SIOP), are held annually, in different host countries. Continental, smaller SIOP congresses are also held. The most recent was in Cape Town, March 19 – 24. Trustee Dr Paul Wharin and I were there.

Also present was a strong contingent of colleagues from Cameroon; Dr Edouard Katawi – from Baptist Hospital Mutengene; Dr Francine Kouya – from Mbingo Baptist Hospital; Nurse Comfort Kimbi – Mbingo Baptist Hospital; Nurse Glenn Mbah – Banso Baptist Hospital. Also in our group was Dr Mona Tamannai, a German Paediatrician, who has done research into the relationship of Burkitt lymphoma and malnutrition. Dr Naomi Wright, who had also done research for us in Cameroon, also turned up.

All of us had something to present at the congress; mostly posters on various aspects of our work, but Francine’s contribution was an oral presentation on the subject of ‘causes of delay in the presentation, diagnosis and treatment of children with cancer admitted to Mbingo Baptist Hospital’. For this she was awarded 2,000 SA Rand, as her paper was judged ‘the best in show’.

We met likeminded colleagues, passionate for children with cancer. Many we had met in previous years; it was good to see and confer with them again. It was good to meet new ones.

Our host, tourist guide, mentor and friend Prof Peter Hesseling was ever present. He met us all at the airport, took us on a tour of the Cape peninsula; fixed our hotels, gave us meals in his home, constantly discussed important issues with us regarding our joint work in Cameroon. He took us all to the airport at the end of the congress. We are deeply grateful to him for his Clinical Directorship of BTMAT, and we are very grateful that his dear wife Emmarentia allows him to keep moving around the planet in the cause of children with cancer in resource-poor countries; especially Cameroon.

Peter McCormick

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