Project information

Supporting children with cancer in Malawi

World Child Cancer will work with local and international partners to grow our model of cancer support in Malawi and the development of services for children with cancer and their families.

Donations from the UK public will be doubled by the UK government so you can also help children in Ghana.

January 2018 - December 2018

Charity information: World Child Cancer UK

World Child Cancer UK logo
  • Need


    Only 40% of the estimated 1,000 children who get cancer each year in Malawi will receive a diagnosis and survival rates for many forms of cancer are still low. The healthcare infrastructure is under-developed with only 1 doctor trained in paediatric oncology and a shortage of trained nursing staff. Facilities such as pathology, surgery, imaging and palliative care are also overstretched. Families struggle to cover the costs of travel, food and medicines; resulting in treatment abandonment.


    World Child Cancer works with the Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital (QECH), Blantyre and facilitates a partnership with the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle and VU University Medical Centre in Amsterdam. This partnership provides training for the team in Blantyre, enhancing their ability to successfully diagnose and treat more children. We are also working to raise public awareness of childhood cancer in Malawi and to offer assistance to families to reduce treatment refusal and abandonment.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    To reduce cancer treatment refusal and abandonment rates in Malawi.


    » Provision of support with transport and food costs for the most disadvantaged families.
    » Assistance with meeting the costs of expensive diagnostic tests.
    » Financial support with treatment costs.
    » Provision of community outreach service to support families between treatment cycles and to monitor continued good health post treatment.

    There will be an increase in survival rates for children with Burkitt lymphoma and Wilms' tumour from 60% and 50% respectively.

    Aim 2

    To Improve curative, supportive and palliative care in Malawi.


    » Provision of funding for key nursing staff on the paediatric oncology ward at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital (QECH).
    » Development of locally appropriate and affordable treatment guidelines.
    » Effective facilitation of healthcare partnership between QECH in Malawi and hospitals in Newcastle and Amsterdam providing training and mentoring.
    » Support with the collection and analysis of accurate patient data on an electronic database.

    Doctors and nurses in Malawi have enhanced skills and knowledge through the training and mentoring partnership with hospitals in Newcastle and Amsterdam.

    Aim 3

    To Improve the speed and quality of childhood cancer diagnosis in Malawi.


    » Provision of training and mentoring for doctors and nurses.
    » Purchase of essential equipment.
    » Raising public and professional awareness of the signs and symptoms of common cancers.

    Quicker pathology testing in country and an increase in the number of children receiving a diagnosis from 272 to over 300 per year.

  • Impact


    The project will deliver the following long term changes:
    1. Increased awareness of the early warning signs and symptoms of childhood cancers resulting in more children receiving a diagnosis.
    2. Enhanced quality of life for children through supportive care medicines
    3. Increased survival rates for children with cancer

    Data is collected locally and is evaluated so that World Child Cancer’s programme team can provide ongoing support to address areas of emerging need identified by the local team.


    The key risks for the project are loss of personnel and breakdown in partner relations. These are addressed through the provision of a clear support structure and memorandum of understanding with partners which outlines roles and expectations. Partners meet regularly to maintain dialogue and to escalate any challenges for early resolution. Another risk is financial management of funds, which is addressed through working with staff in Malawi to accurately forecast and report on expenditure.


    World Child Cancer will provide regular updates to donors via the programme pages on our main website and via our supporter newsletter. An annual programme report will also be produced in conjunction with a formal update in our Annual Review which is published online.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £42,140

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £16,140 Staffing Salaries of lead doctors, nurses and a data manager working in the paediatric oncology unit
      £12,500 Patient support Food & transport for patients; Welcome packs for new patients; Pathology costs; Drug costs
      £11,500 Training Partner visits by international experts; mentoring and development of staff; travel for overseas tra
      £2,000 Equipment General equipment e.g. , infusion pumps, drapes, syringes, sanitizer

    Current Funding / Pledges

    Source Amount
    Unrestricted income from donors £2,140 Guaranteed
  • Background


    Malawi has a population of 17.3 million and is one of the poorest countries in the world. Most families struggle to cover the costs of travel to and from hospital, food and treatment. Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital in Blantyre is the main centre providing diagnosis and treatment for children with cancer in Malawi. The two main hospitals in Malawi diagnose around 40% of the 1,000 expected annual cases, mainly comprising Burkitt lymphoma and other relatively treatable solid tumours.


    The project will directly benefit children with cancer and their families in Malawi. Over 50% of Malawi’s 17million population live below the poverty line of $2 per day and 83.9% live in hard to reach rural areas.

    The issues of rurality and poverty present huge barriers for families who have a child with cancer and our project will help them to access the support they need.

    Donations from the UK public for this project will also be doubled by the UK Government to help children in Ghana.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    In 2009 when World Child Cancer first started working in Malawi, only 150 children received a cancer diagnosis. The team has made steady progress and have managed to increase this by over 81%; alongside increasing the survival rate for Burkitt lymphoma from <40% to 60%.

    We have a strong understanding of the challenges in Malawi and have very good partner relations.
    With our partners, we have now supported over 1,850 children with a cancer diagnosis and access to treatment services.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Dr George Chagaluka

    Lead Paediatric Oncologist - Dr Chagaluka completed his undergraduate medical training in December 2005.

    Prof Elizabeth Molyneux OBE

    Project Mentor - In 1995 Dr Molyneux became Head of the University of Malawi College of Medicine Department of Paediatrics

    Dr Trijn Israels

    Training partner - Paediatric Oncologist for the Outreach Programme of the Paediatric Haematology – Oncology Department at VUMC in Amsterdam.

    Professor Simon Bailey

    Training partner - Head of the Paediatric Oncology Department based at the Great North Children's Hospital and University of Newcastle upon Tyne.

#giftofgrowingup for children with cancer


can pay for life-saving chemotherapy for a child with cancer in Malawi

“Children with cancer in developing countries have not received much attention or support. However, many can be cured. A little money really does go a long way.”

Professor Liz Molyneux