About the International Program
The International Program at Texas Children’s Cancer and Hematology Centers is dedicated to the care and treatment of pediatric hematology and cancer worldwide. In the area of hematology, we are conducting neonatal sickle cell screening in sub-Saharan Africa. In a world where 80 percent of children with cancer in industrialized countries are cured and 90 percent of children with cancer in sub-Saharan Africa die, we are making a difference. For example, we provide direct care and treatment for children with cancer in Botswana and Uganda and provide consultation for the over 90,000 children with HIV who are treated in the Baylor International Pediatric AIDS Initiative Network (www.bipai.org). Simultaneously, we train local nurses and doctors in these locations, building skills and leadership for pediatric hematology-oncology programs in these countries for the future.
Texas Children’s Cancer Center extends our expertise to the developing countries through the International Program. Our programs are dedicated to excellence in the care and treatment of children with cancer through state-of-the-art treatments and cutting-edge research.
Texas Children’s Cancer Center has a strong international reputation and numerous international collaborations through its faculty and fellows, many of whom have active collaborations with investigators in foreign countries. These international activities are numerous and diversified, which resulted in the creation of the International Program in 2008.
Pediatric oncology treatment in developing countries
Worldwide, 160,000 children are diagnosed with cancer each year, an incidence of about 14.9 cases per 100,000 children less than 20 years of age. Over 80% of children with cancer live in developing countries where they are often diagnosed too late or not diagnosed at all. The majority of patients in resource poor settings die from curable cancers, despite a cure rate of 80% in resource-rich countries.
As more children survive, cancer becomes more evident and recognized, while the infrastructure to deal with such a complex disease is lacking. Low and middle income developing countries (LMICs) traditionally focused their health care efforts toward the treatment and control of infectious diseases. Although many of these problems continue to exist, some countries have successfully initiated programs to decrease morbidity and mortality from HIV infection, tuberculosis, malaria and other diseases. Cancer is relatively neglected in developing countries and is expected to contribute a greater proportion of the morbidity and mortality of children throughout the world, especially in these developing countries.
International Program Objectives
- To build local capacity for the provision of cancer by providing training and infrastructure support
- To establish Local Programs of Excellence in partnering developing countries. This will help stimulate local physicians to return to their home country after studying abroad
- To facilitate collaboration between local experts, local governments and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in these countries
- To establish collaborative research projects aimed at addressing challenging pediatric cancer problems faced by our international partners
International Program Activities
- Establish clinical practice guidelines for the treatment and care of pediatric oncology patients in Sub-Saharan Africa being cared for at the Baylor International Pediatric AIDS Initiative (BIPAI) sites
- Pediatric oncology nurse training and development for Botswana and other BIPAI sites
- Collaborate with the Children’s Hospital of Panama, Unidad Nacional de Oncologia Pediatrica (Guatemala), and Hospital Santa Marcelina/TUCCA (Brazil)
- Develop educational materials for use via the internet
- Texas Children’s Cancer Center International e-Journal
- Development of a global tack pediatric oncology fellowship