2017 also marked the opening at Mutengene Baptist Hospital of 2 small wards converted specifically for the treatment of children with cancer.
Our tiny (extremely cramped) ward at the main treatment centre, Mbingo Baptist Hospital (MBH) is being extended and transformed at this moment into a purpose designed childrens cancer treatment unit. 7 years ago we (BTMAT) had a firm promise of funding for this development from Kettering Huxloe Rotary – but lost this when the fund-raising schedule of Kettering Rotary could not be coordinated with the MBH strategic building plan. Now with funding via World Child Cancer (WCC) building is underway – but again we almost missed the deadline for receipt of a major grant!
On our May 2017 visit Prof Hesseling and I were joined by two doctors and the lead nurse, Rachel Hollis, from Leeds General Infirmary childrens cancer treatment unit. We introduced them to Prof Pius Tih, Director of the Cameroon Baptist Convention Health Service (CBCHS) and they are now fully committed to the CBC childrens cancer treatment programme. An agreement has been established at institutional level with Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust! One of the Leeds doctors, Jessica Morgan first met Francine when visiting Banso Baptist Hospital as a medical student many years ago! The Leeds team have visited twice this year and will do the same in 2018. Prof Hesseling can now take a more advisory role. I remain a trustee of BTMAT and with my fellow BTMAT trustees committed to the purchase or sourcing of chemotherapy drugs and to the payment of hospital bills of all children with cancer treated under our programme. This ensures that parents are not faced with a bill that they cannot pay – and therefore that our children stay in hospital for a full course of treatment.
Paul Wharin, December 2017.