Improving Survival for Children with Cancer in Nepal

While the childhood cancer survival rate in high-income countries like the UK is over 80%, in Nepal it is estimated that just 7% of children who develop cancer will survive. 

Thanks to you, World Child Cancer has launched a new project this month, ‘Closing the Cancer Gap’, with the goal of improving the survival of children with cancer at Kanti Children’s Hospital in Nepal.  
The project will run for the next three years and will see the charity working in conjunction with Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool.  

‘Closing the Cancer Gap’ has been funded through UK Aid Match; an initiative that brings charities, British people, and the UK Government together to change the lives of some of the world's poorest and most vulnerable children and families.  

For every £1 donated to the Nepal appeal by an individual living in the UK, the UK Government also contributed £1 of UK aid to support World Child Cancer’s work. ‘Closing the Cancer Gap’ raised £506,283, including £248,712 of match funding from the UK Government. 

Professor Barry Pizer, a paediatric oncologist from Alder Hey with a longstanding connection to Nepal, will visit Kanti at least twice a year to mentor and train the Nepali clinical team and will also be available to support them remotely. He says, “We have seen in the UK that with a timely diagnosis and access to optimal treatment and care, in the vast majority of cases childhood cancer can be cured. Children should not die of curable diseases. By focusing on specialist training – especially for nurses – and strengthening health partnerships, we will be able to improve these children’s chance of survival and their quality of life.” 

A multi-faceted approach includes training staff; improving data collection; the provision of new hospital equipment, and family support. It will increase access and quality of care for an estimated 815 children over the next three years, and many more in the future. 111 healthcare workers will also gain skills in childhood cancer diagnosis, management, and care. 

The project will also focus on raising awareness of childhood cancer, which in turn will increase the number of referrals, meaning that children will be able to get the treatment they so desperately need. 

As has been demonstrated in World Child Cancer’s other programmes in countries such as Ghana and Bangladesh, families who are better able to access paediatric oncology treatment and who are able to access support services will be less likely to abandon their child’s treatment, increasing the child’s chance of a happy, healthy future. 

Thanks to supporters like you, this project will lay the foundations for developing shared care in hospitals throughout Nepal, improving access to childhood cancer treatment and care, and increasing childhood cancer survival rates in the long term.