Meet Alexander and Benjy who I meet yesterday at the St Elizabeth Hospital in General Santos City.
Alexander is 4 years old and is a fun-loving, happy child. But two years ago the story was very different when he was diagnosed with a germ cell tumour and had to undergo treatment lasting a year. He was diagnosed at the St Elizabeth Hospital in General Santos City at one of Doc Mae’s four satellite centres. Thanks to her strategy to taking diagnosis and treatment out to regional hospitals he was able to receive all his treatment in General Santos City which is relatively close to where he lives with his family. The satellite network is designed to increase diagnosis and access to treatment whilst also reducing abandonment of treatment and it’s providing very effective. It’s now one year post treatment and he’s doing very well.
Benjy is four years old and has got suspected Wilms tumor. He was really overwhelmed yesterday when I met him because he had only been admitted to the St Elizabeth Hospital earlier that day. He is being sent to the Southern Philippines Medical Centre in Davao (Doc Mae’s hub hospital) next week for a full diagnosis and, if necessary, the first part of his treatment. He and his mother will be able to stay in the House of Hope which provides home away from home accommodation for patients and their families during diagnosis and treatment – another way to reduce abandonment of treatment. If the diagnosis is early stage Wilms tumor, Benjy will have a good prognosis because it is curable in 60% of cases in the Philippines.
We drove back to Davao this morning through some beautiful scenery before Doc Mae and I head to Hong Kong tomorrow for the annual SIOP conference.