Project Center: Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital (QECH), Blantyre
Twinning Partners: VU University Medical Center (VUMC), Amsterdam, The Netherlands & Victoria Royal Infirmary (VRI), Newcastle, UK
Project Leaders: Professor Elizabeth Molyneux, QECH & Dr. George Chagaluka
Project Mentors: Dr. Trijn Israels, VUMC & Dr. Simon Bailey & Dr Roderick Skinner, VRI
Start Date: January 2014
Project Background: QECH is the main teaching hospital in southern Malawi providing tertiary healthcare in the region. The hospital diagnoses around 290 new cases of childhood cancer a year, mostly Burkitt lymphoma and Wilms’ tumor. QECH provides all healthcare free of charge but receives government funding, which is insufficient to the needs of cancer patients.
World Child Cancer has been funding the twinning partnership between QECH and VUMC/VRI since 2009. During this time significant progress has been made in developing the Pediatric Oncology unit in Blantyre. The project funds staff salaries, drug costs, patient support and awareness/advocacy. Survival rates have increased, fewer patients need to abandon their treatment early, and protocols for a wider range of malignancies have been developed.
The next stage of development will focus on strengthening the services already in place and allowing a more complex, integrated service.