According to available figures, it is estimated that currently less than half of children with cancer in South Africa are diagnosed, and many of those who are diagnosed are in advanced stages of illness. One of the reasons for this is a lack of awareness and knowledge in parts of the health system regarding the early warning signs of childhood cancer.
As a result, in 2011 CHOC initiated an awareness training and education programme to train health professionals, healthcare workers, traditional practitioners and communities on the early warning signs of childhood cancer that were drawn up by the South African Childhood Cancer Study Group (SACCSG) . This is done to promote early diagnosis and access to specialised treatment centres to reduce the mortality and morbidity of children with cancer. The project further aims to ensure that the referral system - from primary health clinics and secondary hospitals through to the arrival of the child at a specialised treatment centre - functions efficiently and that the process is rapid.
,br> To date we have trained 21 229 trainees during 533 training sessions in seven of the nine provinces of South Africa. Between many stakeholder meetings and trainings Vuka Khuluma awareness campaign was actively started in KZN in March 2017 to promote awareness and debunk childhood cancer stigmas.