Prof Peter Hesseling and Dr Paul Wharin make biannual visits to the three Baptist hospitals to encourage our Cameroonian colleagues who provide continuing care for children with cancer and to collate results of the cancer treatment protocols designed by Prof Hesseling.
We hold frequent workshops in which teams from the three hospitals come together to share experience and consider problems and challenges. In 2007 we held our first Burkitt’s Lymphoma Symposium at Mutengene Health Services Complex. Members from the teams at the three Baptist hospitals made presentations: doctors, nurses, ultrasonographers, dentists, and our pathologist – all who contributed to the diagnosis and treatment of Burkitt’s lymphoma. Our scope has since widened from Burkitt’s lymphoma to other cancers: Wilms tumour (kidney cancer), retinoblastoma (eye cancer), and Kaposi sarcoma. Presentations were made at the November 2013, 10th anniversary symposium on the diagnosis and treatment of these cancers – for which we now have approved treatment protocols. Two other major advances since 2007 are a dedicated palliative care service to our children and the establishment of parent support groups. Joel Kaah, motorbike palliative care nurse gave a talk on the palliative care outreach program at Banso Baptist Hospital and the chairmen of two of the Parent Support Groups reported on the activities of their groups in the final session.
Again it was an occasion when doctors, nurses, parents and children contributed. We had just completed the first session when Cameroonian TV arrived and the director asked that we repeat the first 6 talks! This included my talk on “The Role of BTMAT”. I understand that the proceedings were broadcast 3 times on Cameroon National Radio in the subsequent 24 hours and may by now have appeared on TV. It will all help to raise awareness of childhood cancer in Cameroon.