Where Have All The Children Gone…?


In South Africa, many many more children die of cancer each year than is necessary. In this modern era of high-tech medical treatment some 70% of childhood cancers are completely curable..

if diagnosed in time!

How is it then that in South Africa we only have a 20% survival rate for childhood cancer? How?

My own experience is something to go by when trying to work this one out. I have had times in my life when I had access to a brilliant medical fund that covered absolutely everything. A mere visit to the doctor was nothing, you never even saw an invoice. To me, if you were ill, you just called the doctor. He would examine you, and refer you if necessary. It was a simple process. If you had cancer you could be on medication within a couple of weeks from your first doctor’s visit.

Later on, and unable to pay a doctor COD as demanded, I quickly discovered that ‘white’ people could go to the government clinic too! Here, the process of getting to see a doctor, something which should be a simple matter, can result in months of frustration before anyone listens to you. And usually, that for lack of a fever.

Here’s how the process works, briefly. You go to the local clinic, and first you see a sort of screening person, who checks your details, takes your temperature and passes your file to the next link in the chain. Sometimes, if you don’t have a temperature, this is interpreted as you not being sick, and you are sent home.

You come back again, and this time you are allowed to see the sister herself, who gives you a random broad-spectrum antibiotic and sends you home. This process can go on for quite a while before you eventually get to go to the hospital, where the whole process starts again except there’s a doctor attached to it.

And then on to a new, bigger hospital, many kilometres from your home, to hopefully see a specialist. When you arrive, you are given an appointment and sent home. And so on, it really can take months…

There are too many links in this chain! There are too many places for it to break down, so of course it does. We can’t fix the system itself, but we can help it along by raising awareness. Let people know what childhood cancer is, and hopefully the awareness will filter into our health system. All that’s needed is the same attention that’s paid to Tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS in our government clinics.

What we’re trying to do, is to make a big enough noise that the people in charge of health care hear us too. Some of the best medical practitioners in oncology and many other specialist fields already practise from government hospitals, so we’re part of the way there. Now to get the children to see those doctors more quickly.

We need you to stand with us and support us in our Sporting 4 Child Cancer project. Around the country, people are getting fit to ride 2600 km with us from the top of South Africa to the bottom, with shows and events all along the way, raising our voices for Childhood Cancer in our country.

Raise your voices with us for the children!

Have a look at http://www.sporting4childcancer.co.za to see how you can get involved, or SMS LFCANCER to 3222 to donate R10 per week towards supporting needy cancer families

Go To http://www.littlefighters.org.za to learn more about the Little Fighters Cancer Trust.



About LFCT

This is a blog about CHILDHOOD CANCER and CHILDHOOD CANCER AWARENESS Little Fighters Cancer Trust is a non-profit organisation that offers support and aid to Children with Cancer and their families. When a child is diagnosed with cancer it affects the whole family. One of the parents, usually the mother, must give up their job to care for the child and this creates financial problems for the family. In South Africa especially the majority of these families are not well-to-do; many of them are rural. A diagnosis of cancer can wipe out any family’s finances, let alone a poor family. The costs of special medications, special diets, hospital stays, transport to and from the hospital or clinic and accommodation and food costs for the mother who spends most of the time at her child’s bedside are astronomical. These are the people and problems that fall through the cracks, and these are the people that Little Fighters Cancer Trust has pledged to help in any way possible. LFCT takes a holistic approach to assisting the Children with Cancer and their Families, with the main aim to be the preservation of individual dignity and pride. Little Fighters Cancer Trust also focuses on promotion and advocacy of National Childhood Cancer Awareness in an effort to increase awareness of Early Warning Signs of Childhood Cancer. This would result in earlier diagnosis, giving the Child with Cancer more of a chance at Treatment and Survival. See "About" for more Background info

Posted on 31 May, 2014, in Blog and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. So sad to think that so many children still die of cancer in this day and age 😦


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