At just four years old, Prasad has already spent the past year receiving cancer treatment at Kanti Children’s Hospital (KCH) in Kathmandu, Nepal. His home district of Kanchanpur, hundreds of miles from Kathmandu, is one of the most underdeveloped districts of Nepal, with very few hospitals, schools and other infrastructure. When Prasad’s health began to decline day by day and the local hospital could not identify anything wrong, his parents immediately rushed him to KCH.
Prasad’s parents have struggled financially since bringing their son to KCH. As Kathmandu is the capital city of Nepal, their living expenses have increased significantly, making it very difficult for them to support Prasad and his one-year-old brother. Prasad’s father now works at a local hotel, but his income is still not enough to afford his son’s treatment, he says
Prasad’s dad has resorted to selling their land back home and taking loans from relatives and friends abroad to pay for his sons treatment.
Families affected by childhood cancer in low-income countries are often overwhelmed by the cost of treatment. This financial burden is sometimes so great that they decide to abandon treatment, which significantly reduces the child’s chance of survival. World Child Cancer helps vulnerable families, like Prasad’s, afford hospital treatment by covering the costs so that children with cancer can continue treatment and eventually return to a normal childhood. We also provide families psychosocial support to help ensure families are not emotionally overwhelmed as a result of the financial pressures of childhood cancer.
Financial strain is just one of the many reasons why in low-and middle-income countries like Nepal, as few as 10% of children diagnosed with cancer will survive, compared to 80% in high-income countries like the UK, where the NHS provides a service that is free at the point of use. This is also one of the many ways in which we support children with cancer in the lower income world to help Close the Cancer Gap.