Health-Care Providers' Perspectives towards Childhood Cancer Treatment in Kenya


Department of Child Health and Pediatrics, Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital, Eldoret, Kenya


Background: This study explored perspectives of health-care providers on childhood cancer treatment in Kenya. Materials and Methods: A self-administered questionnaire was completed by 104 health-care providers in January and February 2013. Results: Seventy six percent of the health-care providers believed cancer to be curable. More doctors than other health-care providers had this positive opinion (p=0.037). The majority of health-care providers (92%) believed that most children with cancer will not be able to finish their treatment due to financial difficulties. They considered that prosperous highly-educated parents adhere better with treatment (88%) and that doctors adhere better with treatment for prosperous highly-educated parents (79%). According to 74% of health-care providers, quality of care is better for prosperous highly-educated parents (74%). Most health-care providers reported giving more explanation (71%), work with greater accuracy (70%) and use less difficult vocabulary (55%) to prosperous more educated families. Only 34% of health-care providers reported they feel more empathy towards patients from prosperous families. Reasons for non-adherence with the protocol according to health-care providers are: family refuses drugs (85%), inadequate supply of drugs at pharmacy (79%), child looks ill (75%), and financial difficulties of parents (69%). Conclusions: Health-care providers' health beliefs and attitudes differ for patients with families having high versus low socio-economic backgrounds.