Kidzcan Zimbabwe

Saving Children’s lives through Early detection of Eye Cancers


To save unnecessary deaths of children by integrating early detection of eye cancers in the national health system using the Primary Health Care approach.

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Lead Organization

Kidzcan Zimbabwe

Harare, Harare Province, Zimbabwe

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Project Summary

One of the cancers which has caused unnecessary deaths among children in Zimbabwe is Retinoblastoma (cancer of the eye). Zimbabwe is ranked third in the world when it comes to mortality from Retinoblastoma yet most of these deaths could be avoided with early detection. Kidzcan intends to undertake a national campaign on early detection and awareness of Retinoblastoma in Zimbabwe by integrating early detection of Retinoblastoma in the national health system.Guided by WHO, Kidzcan has partnered Ministry of Health and supports the Primary Health Care (PHC) framework on health provision which appears to be particularly suited to addressing the current challenges and health needs in Zimbabwe. PHC promotes prevention of diseases, early detection and treatment at primary level of care.Zimbabwe is currently experiencing serious socio- economic challenges which have led to a near collapse of the health service provision making it difficult for communities to access health care. .

Problem Statement

There are common childhood cancers that affect children below the age of 5 years, Wilms Tumour (kidney), Retinoblastoma(eye) and Hepatoblastoma(liver). Late diagnosis and initiation of treatment leads to premature death. This age group has regular contact with primary care health workers as they receive immunizations. However, the information, resource and skill deficiency delay early diagnosis and referral to the hospital for further management. After being referred for treatment, Zimbabwe only has one 30 bed oncology ward located in Harare, it can only accommodate inpatients. Outpatients receiving chemotherapy do not have facilities to recuperate for at least 24-48hrs after treatment before they can travel back home. There is no means to ensure that they have received sufficient management of side effects and that their environment has been controlled of exposure to infections. Patients from outside the city, have to make their own accommodation arrangements but the children still feel the strain on the long journey back home. Some patients default treatment because they did not have sufficient money to travel back to the city. There is need to train all primary health workers how to screen common cancers and educating communities to adopt health seeking behaviors. Outpatients need a halfway home that not only shelters them but has professionals managing side effects and providing adequate nutrition. Patients should be able to get their chemotherapy at their nearest hospital instead of traveling to Harare on a weekly basis or staying at a halfway home for months.

Solution Overview

Nationwide targeting every clinic where every child in Zimbabwe receives care, by targeting the clinics we are reaching every child in the country. Objective 1 – Training and provision of screening resources to primary care health worker in all 10 provinces. Measures: Number of primary health workers trained, number of patients referred for treatment, screening supplies distributed, and number of refresher training done, new health card with section on cancer screening developed Objective 2 – Increased awareness on Childhood Cancers among the communities and distribution of awareness material to encourage health seeking behaviorrsMeasures: number of households reached, number of awareness material distributedObjective 3 - Establishing a conducive treatment conditions for diagnosed patientsMeasures: a functional halfway home for outpatients constructed and equipped, chemotherapy medicine requests filled, number of home deaths after chemotherapy among outpatients, number of readmissions after chemotherapy, rate of inpatient infectionsObjective 4 – Provision of treatment services at nearest provincial hospitalMeasures: number of equipped mobile clinics distributed, number of health practitioners trained to manage patients, number of home deaths after chemotherapy among outpatients, number of readmissions after chemotherapy, rate of inpatient infections

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