Six-year-old Hanish has been receiving treatment at Kanti Children’s Hospital in Nepal for the past three and a half years. Hanish was routinely unwell as a toddler and was often in a lot of general pain. It was only when his mother noticed swelling in his neck that she rushed him to Kathmandu for treatment. After a blood test, Hanish was diagnosed with cancer.
Hanish is cared for by his grandmother Hira while at hospital as his mother, Tulsi looks after his sibling and his father, Tilakram works abroad. Although Tira tells us that Tilakram was once able to come back for a month to see his son at hospital, he had to return to work so that he could make the money for Hanish to continue treatment. Hanish’s family has spent more than 1.2 million Nepali rupees (~£8,215) on his treatment, and at times have become desperate - borrowing money from family and friends to make sure that Hanish completes his remaining seven months of treatment.
Many families affected by childhood cancer in low-income countries struggle to afford treatment. In Nepal, the average cost of cancer treatment is nearly five times higher than the average adult’s annual income. This dramatically increases the likelihood that families will either not seek hospital treatment or abandon treatment when they can no longer afford it, which significantly reduces a child’s chance of survival. World Child Cancer works to provide financial support to some of the world’s most vulnerable families to ensure that they can pay for their treatment and transport costs – minimizing the accumulated costs of cancer treatment in a low-income country. We also help to provide emotional support for children and their families to ensure that they are able to deal with the emotional impacts of childhood cancer, including coping with the overwhelming emotional strains that financial struggles can create. This type of support helps to reduce treatment abandonment rates and ultimately means more children will survive cancer.
Thankfully for Hanish, he has recently returned home after three years stay at hospital. He is now in his last 7 months of treatment and is even able to occasionally go to school, where he has many friends. He wants to be a teacher when he grows up, and plans to buy his grandmother lots of gifts as soon as he makes money from teaching.