Saturday, October 26, 2013

BSMMU Children's Cancer War

Here are some photographs from my work at BSMM (Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University, essentially a large teaching hospital and university).  I am working on the children's cancer (oncology) ward.  Some of the activities of the oncology ward are sponsored by World Child Cancer as part of the partnership between BSMMU and University College London (England) and BC Children's Hospital in Vancouver.  This project sponsors the creation of a database to register all cancer patients at the time of diagnosis as well as covering part of the cost of chemotherapy.  

More details coming soon...

More stuffed toys arrive from World Child Cancer

DHL man assures us that the count of toys is correct....but where is the second box?  (He flatly denied its existence, it then arrived 2 days later)

Doing rounds on the ward with Dr. Islam.  

This little guy woke up just long enough to put his hand on Dr. Islam's, then dozed off again...

You thought hospital food in Canada was bad...this is what the patients get for lunch and dinner, every single day it is the same thing.  It costs the hospital about $1 per day to feed each patient.  Unfortunately this food is spicy and children in Bangladesh do not eat spicy food.  So none of the children will eat this food.  This means the the parents have to prepare some food at the bedside for the child to eat, which is not very hygienic.  One of the goals of the World Child Cancer project is to educate the parents about while foods are healthy and safe for their child with cancer.  

16 bed cancer ward.  There are 4 slightly more private "cabins" in the back.  These cost $2/night.  Otherwise there is essentially no privacy, everything happens in full view of all the other patients.  One parent will stay with each child at night, sleeping in the bed with them.

Parents, brothers and uncles of some patients.  These gentlemen helped me to decorate the walls of the procedure room (behind them). 

A lovely little girl with cancer who was coming for a spinal tap today.   Parents are both with her.

Walls of the procedure room after decoration.  Currently spinal taps and bone marrow biopsies are being done without any form of sedation or pain relief.  I am working to develop a safe and simple plan for pain and sedation medications to be given to the children before these procedures.  The wall decorations are part of our non-pharmicological strategy to help the children be more calm during the procedure, by using distraction we are able to help children cope better with pain.  

Dr. Rasel giving a talk on nutrition to the parent group.  This is a group of parents whose children all have cancer.  They are hoping to form a foundation and start to support and educate parents when their child is newly diagnosed with cancer.  Dr. Rasel is very keen to help this group with their activities.  They were very excited to have me visit their meeting.  The father on the far left even gave a very nice little speech about how happy they were to have me join the meeting (he is a math professor in Chittigong)

1 comment:

  1. Wow. Megan, thanks for giving us this lovely little window into your world in Dhaka! I have been checking into your blog weekly and truly enjoying the tales, musings and photos you have shared.
    Your skills, gifts and compassion will be so well-used and appreciated in this setting! It makes my heart happy to think of all those hard years of training and call that are being used for such a meaningful purpose! Sending you lots of love, encouragement and hugs as you face what I can only imagine are extremely difficult and heart-breaking situations daily. Know that you and Danny are in our thoughts and prayers and if there are ever ways that you feel like some good ol' Ottawa support could be used, please do not hesitate to let us know! We are so inspired by your adventuresome and compassionate spirits and this Bengali adventure you have embarked on! xoxo