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What we do

‘The Care for Kosovo Kids Foundation aims to aid children suffering from cancer in Kosovo. As Professor of Pediatric Oncology and scientific ambassador I cannot sufficiently stress the importance of this work. Despite its vicinity to Western Europe, chances of survival of this deadly disease are far too low in Kosovo. As a pediatric oncologist I know from experience how with relatively few resources many children can be saved. Join us in these efforts!’

Gertjan Kaspers, CfKK-Ambassador, Professor of Pediatric Oncology VUmc/Amsterdam UMC, Director Academy & Outreach, Princess Máxima Center for Pediatric Oncology Utrecht, Member of the Central Board of the Foundation for Pediatric Oncology in the Netherlands, Chair World Child Cancer Foundation NL

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Gertjan Kaspers

Care for Kosovo Kids Foundation

Dutch entrepreneur Anke Gerrits and the Kosovar pediatrician Dr. Sevim Cinci founded the Dutch-Kosovar Care for Kosovo Kids foundation in 2013. They took this initiative because the staff of the pediatric oncology department of the University Clinical Center in Pristina lacked the resources to treat children suffering from cancer.

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The CfKK foundation’s aim is to ensure that every Kosovar child with cancer receives adequate treatment in their own country.

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The Kosovar medical team: top left to right: Dr. Arbana Zejnullahu, Dr. Bardhyl Abrashi, Dr. Violeta Uka, Dr. Rufadie Maçastena, Minire Huniler, Edita Krajkova, Fatime Dërguti, Dr. Enver Hasi. Middle left to right: Vlora Hyseni, Azemine Haliti, Malsore Vitija. Bottom left to right: Edona Toplica, Mirishah Abazi, Trimona Behxheti

Save the lives of Kosovar children!

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Collaboration with the Princess Máxima Center for Pediatric Oncology

The intensive collaboration between the department for pediatric oncology of the University Clinical Center in Pristina and the Máxima Center in Utrecht, the Netherlands, is essential for the best oncological diagnostics and treatment. The Máxima Center, Europe’s largest pediatric-oncological hospital, seeks to cure every child suffering from cancer while preserving the best quality-of-life. The Máxima Center is unable to contribute money, medicines or equipment, but does actively shared its body of knowledge and experience with the physicians who work at the Pediatric Oncology department of the UCCK in Pristina. See also: www.prinsesmaximacentrum.nl

Outreach Program

The signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the University Clinical Center of Kosovo, the Princess Máxima Center for Pediatric Oncology in the Netherlands and World Child Cancer Netherlands was an important step for treating children with cancer in Kosovo. The contract stipulates that UCCK-physicians, nurses, technical staff, researchers and other Kosovar professionals became members of the Máxima Center’s Outreach Program. In this program, they are trained and educated in the most recent scientific developments and protocols in pediatric oncology.

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Leukemia

Whenever a child is diagnosed with leukemia, physicians of the pediatric oncology department in Pristina send a bone marrow sample to the Máxima Center in Utrecht. The department in Kosovo at this moment is unable to determine the molecular biology of these samples, making the classification of the leukemia to be more difficult.

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Outreach Program Team (left to right): Linde Pothoff, Donna Sluijs, Sophie Haverkate, Dionne Mooij, Dr. Martine van Grotel, Dr. Corrie Gidding

Outreach team

The Outreach team of the Máxima Center consists of three pediatric oncologists. One is specialized in solid tumors, the other in brain tumors, and the third is specialized in hematological malignancies. The latter consist of malignant afflictions of the blood and blood-forming tissues such as acute and chronic leukemia.

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We welcome trainees

We especially welcome the contribute of young professionals – with Albanian roots – who want to contribute to CfKK. Likewise, we welcome international students who would like to contribute scientifically to the treatment and cure of children suffering from cancer.

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Goals

Short term

CfKK continues to do what it has done so far: ensure that children with cancer receive the best treatment possible. From diagnosis, to treatment, to medication, and including appropriate aftercare.

Medium-long term

CfKK endeavors to ensure that all children suffering from cancer in Kosovo can be treated at the department for pediatric oncology of the UCCK. Here they undergo the same medical treatment as they would elsewhere in Europe. Only the most complicated cases – such as those involving a bone marrow transplantation – will have to be treated abroad.

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Long term

The final goal that CfKK has set itself will be attained when the work the foundation conducts can be organised independently by Kosovar experts with their government.

Results

✓ All medication fully paid for

The CfKK foundation purchases all required medication directly at the producer. This takes place in close consultation with the department’s physicians. Delivery and distribution within the hospital are carefully checked and registered.

✓ Tube feeding for all patients that need it

Proper nutrition is essential for every patient’s speedy recovery, especially those under treatment for cancer. In consultation with Dutch nutritionists, CfKK ensures that all children in the pediatric hospital gain access to the tube feeding they need and encourages its use.

✓ Where necessary, preliminary dental care

Children being treated with chemotherapy often cannot undergo dental care. Hence it is important to check their teeth before undergoing chemotherapy and ensuring that any problems are provided for with appropriate dental care. The hospital dentist conducts these checks and treats the children on a voluntary basis. CfKK plays an important role in facilitating contact and communication between the dentist and the Pediatric Oncology department.

✓ Psychological support before, during and after treatment

Thanks to the support from CfKK the department has employed a psychologist. She is directly concerned with the children and apart from mental support she also offers more practical support to the children, their parents, and CfKK. To inform and prepare children (and parents) about what is going to happen, they are provided with a children’s book that deals with this topic.

✓ All children are provided with a welcome package with a toy and items for personal hygiene such as soap, toothpaste, shampoo

These packages help in making the children feel welcome and facilitate communication with parents and children.

Milestones

2020

  • Donation from the Swiss Embassy in Kosovo: the upcoming year, the embassy funds half of the expenses of reagents and other consumables that are required for the flow-cytometer to fully function. Additional sources of support for the other half are still being pursued.
  • Continuation of supplying essential medication and tube feeding.
  • Continuation of providing for welcome and hygiene packages for new patients.
  • Continuation of the Outreach Program of the Academy of the Máxima Center.

2019

  • Continuation of supplying essential medication.

  • Continuation of providing for welcome and hygiene packages for new patients on the Pediatric Oncology department.

  • Continuation of the Outreach Program of the Academy of the Máxima Center.

  • Start of the project for tube feeding.
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  • Every medical treatment starts with proper diagnostics. Whenever a patient is diagnosed with leukemia a sample of their bone marrow is transported from the pediatric oncology department in Pristina to the Máxima Center in the Netherlands for analysis and pediatric oncologists of both hospitals arrange a meeting.
  • Supporting effective use of the flow-cytometer.

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  • A separate room is taken into use for storing CfKK medicines stock in the UCCK.

  • The third CfKK charity dinner raised € 87,000.

  • When finishing her internship, Finnish intern Terese Backlund set up the online platform (https://mesenaatti.me/1247/_/) that she uses to raise money.
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  • CfKK furnishes the pediatric hospital’s kitchen with a new refrigerator, a freezer, a drier, a dishwasher, thermos and a blender.

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2018

  • Continuation of supplying essential medication.

  • Outreach program between the Máxima Center and the pediatric oncology department in Pristina set up.

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  • The second CfKK charity dinner in the Netherlands raises € 70,000.

  • The first initiative of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development is completed.

  • A new washing machine, dryer and weighing scale for children are acquired.

  • Mobile bed is replaced.

  • Papers are presented in Kosovo by Dutch and Austrian specialists in oncology.

  • Judoka Majlinda Kelmendi becomes the new CfKK-ambassador in Kosovo. She is the first Kosovar to win a gold medal at the Olympic Games of 2016. In order to raise money, she offers her shirt number for auctioning.

  • Start of the voluntary dental care project at the Pediatric Oncology department.

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  • Donation received from Dua Lipa. She is of Kosovar descent and is one of the world’s most successful singers.

  • Welcome and hygiene packets are prepared and handed out for every new patient that is admitted to the Pediatric Oncology department.

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  • Extra help: During a period where there were even deeper than usual shortages of medicines and consumables in all departments of the pediatric hospital in Pristina, CfKK in consultation with the Ministry of Health of Kosovo, provides all medication and other essential items for the entire Pediatric hospital and Neonatology clinic.

2017

  • Continuation of supplying essential medication.

  • Start of the initiative of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).

  • CfKK’s first charity diner in the Netherlands raises over € 38,000.

  • Psychologist Fatime Fejzullahu commences her work providing mental support for children and their parents on the Pediatric Oncology department.

  • Papers are presented in Kosovo by Dutch and Austrian specialists in oncology.

2016

  • Continuation of supplying essential medication.

  • Memorandum of Understanding is signed between the Ministry of Health of Kosovo and CfKK.

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  • Symposium organised with international pediatric oncologists from the Netherlands and Austria.

  • ‘Chemo Kasper’, a children’s book containing information on cancer, is translated into Albanian as ‘Kemo-Krenari’. The book helps in informing and preparing the children for chemotherapy.

2015

  • Continuation of supplying essential medication.

  • The protocols for supplying medicine are improved with a track and trace system.

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2014

  • Continuation of supplying essential medication.

  • Refurbishment of the central laundry service of the UCCK.
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  • Launch of the cookbook ‘Streetfood Kosovo’.
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  • In order to reduce young patient’s distress, the white walls in the pediatric hospital are decorated with cartoon figures.

2013

  • Foundation and registration of Care for Kosovo Kids in the Netherlands and Kosovo as a non-governmental organisation (NGO) with the status of Officially Recognised Charity for the Common Good (ANBI)

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  • Essential medication is supplied on the basis of transparent protocols and a stock management system.

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