13 Mar 2008

Tonga launches support group for child cancer sufferers

7:03 pm on 13 March 2008

Tonga will launch the Pacific Islands' first parent support group for children with cancer, the Child Cancer Foundation, on Friday.

The kingdom is working with the New Zealand Paediatric Oncology Steering Group to find ways to develop services that will help them to look after their children with cancer.

The Steering group's, Dr Jane Skeen, says families must send their children to New Zealand for treatment and it's currently training Tongan doctors and nurses to complete the last part of the children's treatment in Tonga.

Dr Skeen says the parent support group is part of the initiative.

"'What's being proven to be successful is that when parent support groups are formed for parents of children with cancer and that provides support over and above what's provided within the health system and that the outcomes are much better."

Dr Jane Skeen says the support group will offer advice as well as financial help.