There is no paediatric oncologist. There is no surgeon. The operations are being carried out by a student surgeon. The survival rate after surgery is not great.
The wonderful Dr. Trish who transformed the ward when she was here ( survival rates going from 12% to 60%!) is getting better herself from her own cancer. She will be back just as soon as she is able. In the meantime they are struggling on without her. There will be some short term cover in the shape of a month here and there. But nothing as consistent as what she gave.
There are some exceptional people working with the children. Like Leonard. What a gentle beautiful person he is. The teachers mostly are great. The classroom on the ward will never look like a classroom as the hospital won't give it to them permanently. There are no desks or tables, just rows of annoying stuck together chairs. The hospital say its supposed to be a mothers feeding room and must be kept like that incase it's needed. So the children sit on the floor, leaning on books to do their work.
The hostel is great, although much can be improved on there also. The Director Janet has only just begun in the job, but has a great drive to get things done and a huge heart. I need to thank David, who you will never see without a small child on his hip. He really helped me settle in and translated in class for me. Again a man with limitless love for these children.
The charity are working so hard to get the word out to remote Tanzania that early detection of cancer is crucial. They just don't know what it is out here. And any cancer left too late will kill you. Hopefully when I come back, the amount of children with such advanced cancer as I've seen will have diminished because of this program.
It is working, but it's a constant struggle with obstacles that only Africa could possibly throw in your way! I know it's on going and they're not going I save the world, but its a good place to start!