‘Simple things’ help enormously to improve care
In our partner hospital in Malawi, we are working step by step on improving care in all kinds of areas. This often involves, apparently, simple matters. For example, Becton Dickinson (BD) donated a number of high-quality syringes to provide safer and patient-friendly care. With perseverance, inventiveness and the help of OTX Logistics it was possible to get the syringes on site, despite the obstacles caused by COVID-19.
Malawi is one of the five poorest countries in the world. It is located in the South East of Africa. We work together with one of the two major government hospitals in the country, Queen Elisabeth Central Hospital in Blantyre. Medical care in the hospital is free, but the facilities that can be provided are minimal. At the pediatric oncology department it is therefore necessary to improve the care with help, support and donations in all kinds of areas in order to gradually improve the care. This often involves, seemingly, very simple matters.
A good example of this is the recent donation of a large quantity of high-quality syringes. The pediatric oncology department in Malawi had requested this. The government supplies syringes, but for a number of specific reasons, better syringes lead to safer and more patient-friendly care. World Child Cancer NL found medical-technology company Becton Dickinson (BD) willing to supply these syringes free of charge for its partner hospital in Malawi. It was the intention to include these syringes in the planned twinning visit in April, but because of the COVID-19 pandemic, this did not go ahead. With the perseverance and inventiveness of transport company OTX Logistics, we finally managed to get the syringes on site.
In other projects we are doing with Malawi under the twinning program, the same principle applies: step-by-step improvement of care with 'simple' interventions. We are working, together with the local team, to improve supportive care. Supportive care means everything that helps the children through the treatment of their cancer. For example, nutritional support, but also good treatment against infections and other adequate care for side effects of chemotherapy. First of all, funding has been found for an extra nurse for the unit. In addition, we have identified other problems in order to be able to plan the most effective interventions together.
In Malawi, we want to improve the ability of parents to complete the treatment of their child with cancer. Here too, in addition to good information, very simple things prove to be very effective, such as financing the minivan to and from the hospital, and accommodation and meals for the family during the stay in the hospital.