It was the third meeting of African parent/patient initiatives organized by ICCCPO alongside with the 11th SIOP-Africa conference, this time in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, from April 23rd -25th, 2014.
Doctors, nurses and parent/survivors met for intensive three days of lectures, workshops and presentations about pediatric oncology – specifically adjusted to the situation in this vast and diverse continent. A comprehensive program awaited the delegates from many African countries as well as from abroad in a lovely setting at the Indian Ocean – away from the (possibly) distracting downtown of the city. Next to the very scientific medical presentations geared to the medical professionals, the nurses and the parents/survivors had their own programs. But many sessions of general interest were arranged for the full plenum and discussed jointly. Special guests for the opening ceremony were the First Lady of Tanzania and Her Royal Highness, the Queen of Shaja (UAE), who addressed the audience. Both guests of honor also visited the local pediatric oncology ward – impressed by the good work that meanwhile can be done there.
For parents and patients the more practical aspects of their work were of high interest, such as ‘How to start and maintain a parent house’, ‘Ideas for effective fundraising’, ‘Awareness campaigns’, ‘Activities for patients and their families’, ‘Drug supply’, ‘Taking care of families at home’ etc. Important for all was the relatively informal setting which encouraged frank discussions and intensive exchange of information, ideas and experiences. A very interesting and challenging presentation was that of a traditional healer, who offered his cooperation, knowing that often the presentation of a cancer sick child to the hospital is very much delayed as the child is usually first seen by a traditional healer, who – not knowing the symptoms of cancer in childhood – does not refer to the cancer center immediately. He appreciated the list of the ‘Early Warning Signs’ and agreed to the publication of his talk on our website as soon as it is transcribed.
In summary, the participants of the parents-meeting enjoyed this enriching conference in accordance to the ICCCPO-motto: we care we share.