World Eye Cancer Hope

Kids Can Cope: Child Life Training and Infant Massage Certification

“At the hospital I had a nurse who helped chase my fears away. Daisy Fund had trained her in special “child life” play. She let me play with the sleepy mask and “took blood” from my cloth doll’s arm. I blew bubbles when the needles hurt, to help me stay very calm.” In the third year of our national Child Life Leaders (CLL) training program in Kenya, we aim to train five CLLs as Certified Infant Massage Instructors. Infant massage dramatically reduces the stress and pain of babies and young children in potentially traumatic circumstances such as cancer treatment, especially in this environment where strong pain medication is costly and in limited supply. This training course will also include the third phase of a formal child life training syllabus, building on existing services and filling identified gaps in care provision, to promote quality of life for all children affected by cancer in the country

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Registered Charity in England and Wales (1111133)




  • CancerCancer
  • Education/Training/EmploymentEducation/Training/Employment
  • Health/WellbeingHealth/Wellbeing
  • Poverty Alleviation/ReliefPoverty Alleviation/Relief


  • Children (3-18)Children (3-18)



Background: Cancer treatment can overwhelm a child’s natural ability to cope and cooperate. This inhibits their healing and natural development, with lasting negative effects on physical and mental health. This situation is particularly acute in developing countries, where hospitalisation is frequently prolonged and support services for children with cancer are virtually non-existent. Child life promotes effective coping and optimal development through play, medical preparation, education, coping support strategies, pain management and self-expression activities based on natural child development. These approaches also decrease medical costs by limiting the need for sedatives and pain medications, and reducing the number of nurses required to complete a procedure. The American Academy of Paediatrics affirms that child life is “an essential component of quality paediatric health care”, Our Kenyan National Retinoblastoma Strategy (KNRbS) program, a collaborative effort involving 18 hospitals across Kenya, builds a model for care of children with cancer in resource limited countries. Within this program, we are training a team of Child Life Leaders from tertiary hospitals in Nairobi, Eldoret, Kisumu and Mombasa. Training in child life approaches that require minimal material resources facilitate effective support of the infant and child patient and other family members. Each CLL Is also trained to transfer skills to colleagues within their home region, broadening the availability of child life support across Kenya. Cost: This five day training program, to be held at the Sally Test Paediatric Centre at Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital in Eldoret, will cost £10,000. This includes international and internal (Kenya) travel for DECF’s Child Life Officer and an Infant Massage Trainer from the International Association of Infant Massage; internal travel for five CLLs; six nights FB accommodation; infant massage training materials; international certification costs; and regular child life syllabus training materials. “The preservation of quality of life -- including physical, psychological and social functioning - should be a humanitarian priority.” The Charter of Paris, 2000 World Summit Against Cancer for the New Millennium.