15-year-old Bianca Wanjiku has extended her support for the children who are cancer patients at Kenyatta National Hospital. While donating ward beds and necessities to the children at Kenyatta National Hospital, the 15-year-old expressed her concerns and support for the children as she thanked the hospital for giving her an opportunity to make a positive change in the lives of the children.
According to research, most children who have cancer live in the developing world where their survival rate is less than 25 percent. According to a study at the Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital in Western Kenya, the survival rate for all childhood cancers is about 19 percent. The study found that awareness of cancer in children under 18 was low due to the country’s inadequate health care resources for diagnosis and treatment. Also, poor families could not afford medical insurance or transport to the hospital.
Speaking while handing over the ward beds at Kenyatta National Hospital, Bianca Wanjiku, the Founder of the Together we care campaign said, “I started a campaign which I called “Together We Care” to raise money for the ward beds and to raise awareness about childhood cancer. It all began when I was around 13 years. I was concerned that many people are getting cancer and I was curious as to why there is no cure for cancer. I learnt about cancer and followed the story of Marrie Currie – the physicist and chemist. The story of her contribution to finding new and effective treatments for cancer inspired me to find out more about cancer and especially childhood cancer here in Kenya.”
“I launched my campaign on 15th February 2022, to mark World Childhood Cancer Day. I heard about the Children’s Cancer Ward here in Kenyatta Hospital and visited it for the first in December last year. I invited a friend to join me and we spent a day with some of the children during the festive season.”
About 2,500 children in Kenya develop cancer every year out of about 20 million children, as calculated from the global estimate. In developing countries, the reported rate of childhood cancer is low because it is undiagnosed.
“I was very fortunate to meet Dr Irene Nzamu who kindly shared with us more about the situation of childhood cancer in Kenya and around the world, especially the challenges and how best I can support the children at the cancer ward. I learned there is a waiting list of children waiting to be admitted to receive treatment and there is a campaign known as “Adopt A Bed” that gives me an opportunity to make it possible to have more children access treatment in a comfortable way,” she added.
Awareness of cancer is low in less educated populations, and health budgets are too small to provide enough diagnostic equipment and specialised health workers.
“I also learnt that it is important to spread awareness on the severity of childhood cancer and bring a change to my community by encouraging more young people – like me to do the same and join me in this cause and by making a difference for the hospital and the children. I wish to call on young people to join me and spread awareness about children with cancer because when diagnosed early cancer can be treated. I believe young people can make a big difference in worthy causes that matter to us. Let us all send a strong message out there that Together we Care.” She ended.