The my child matters awards: new funding, new countries, new hope

Special Report: International
The My Child Matters Awards: new funding, new countries,
new hope
Published Online
On Jan 28, 2009, the International in low-middle income countries by Selected candidates will get hands- Union Against Cancer (UICC) and building treatment capacity.
Childhood cancer is a problem Hospital (Karachi) for 3 months.” the recipients of the third My Child worldwide, but with the most On returning to their local centres, Matters (MCM) Initiative Awards. dramatic eff ects seen in nations physicians with enhanced skills Eight projects, proposed by teams with limited resources. This is well and experience should be able to from Burkina Faso, Colombia, Côte illustrated by the 80/20 divide: about d’Ivoire, Pakistan, and Paraguay, will 80% of childhood cancers occur in stage, off ering them a greater receive funding of up to €50 000 each. resource-strapped countries where hope of survival. As a mid-term Although the projects vary in scope, survival is often 20% or less, whereas all refl ect the central aim of the MCM in developed countries, the ratio is communication channels, such as initiative: to fi ght childhood cancer around 20/80. With good ideas and e-mail and telemedicine, to enable motivated people, however, even shared care. small amounts of money can bring Projects to receive funding
Burkina Faso
of MCM awards have achieved just to use her team’s award to establish Reinforcing the ability to handle childhood cases of cancer at
that by pro moting public awareness the country’s fi rst paediatric cancer the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Yalgado Ouédraogo and Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Charles de Gaulle: Diarra Ye, Centres Hospitaliers Universitaires de Ouagadougou and clinics, and training medical information. “The incidence of Colombia
Establishment of a surveillance system for childhood cancer in
world. The new recipients continue 15 years is high compared with the Cali, Colombia. Luis Eduardo Bravo, Registro Problacional de Cancer de Cali de la Universidad del Valle, Cali Muhammad Shamvil Ashraf, of explains. Yet, “even cancers with the Children Cancer Foundation an optimistic prognosis in terms Côte d’Ivoire
Pakistan Trust (Karachi, Pakistan), of cure and remission reach health Refurbishing of a paediatric oncology unit at the University
will use his team’s award to train care in an advanced stage, with a Hospital Centre of Treichville, Abidjan. Andoh Joseph, University Hospital Centre of Treichville, Abidjan paediatricians in the early diagnosis resultant depressing survival rate”, and treatment of cancer, and to she adds. “A contributory factor is Pakistan
provide basic oncology training to the substantial mismanagement Childhood tumour registry, Karachi. Yasmin Bhurgri, Karachi
nurses, in the Pakistani regions of and time loss between diagnosis and Sindh and Balochistan. “There is an treatment, due to a non-existent Outreach training programme for paediatric oncology in Sindh
and Balochistan, Pakistan, to improve diagnosis and treatment of childhood cancers. Muhammad Shamvil Ashraf, adds to [delays] in diagnosis and help reduce these problems, but as Children Cancer Foundation Pakistan Trust, Karachi hence treatment”, he explains. “In Bhurgri points out, optimum success Establishment of a paediatric palliative care unit in an
Pakistan, more than 50% of [aff ected] requires training for health-care oncology department. Agha Shabbir Ali, Department of Oncology children are either not diagnosed professionals in early detection, a and Haematology, The Children’s Hospital and Institute of Child or are unable to get treatment due further objective of the project. “The to lack of expertise or the simple mid-term goal would be to establish Paraguay
inability to aff ord treatment. Our the system in Karachi. The long-term Establishment of a Paraguay Childhood Cancer Network to
plan is to train doctors and nurses goals would be to extend services to improve early detection, access to care and treatment in in the major cities of Sindh and the province of Sindh and ultimately children with cancer. Angélica Samudio, Paediatric Oncology Unit, Balochistan in paediatric oncology. the entire country”, she concludes.
Mother and Child Centre of the School of Medicine, National University of Asunción, Asunción workshops in medical college de Acosta Ñu Paediatric General A bridge for life. Jabibi Noguera, Ninos de Acosta Ñu Paediatric
hospitals in collaboration with the Hospital in Asunción, Paraguay, plans Pakistan Paediatric Association. to help train health-care personnel Vol 10 March 2009
to improve the children’s residence oncologists, paediatricians, and unit and set up school facilities for nurses to care for children with patients that have to stay for extended cancer”, she explains. “This network In Paraguay, families often travel facilitate a better understanding of long distances to reach one of the childhood cancer, and to develop four hospital centres that have local capacity to address basic paediatric oncology specialists, and health care [for paediatric patients]. are then faced with nowhere to Through training in cancer awareness stay over the treatment period. The of health-care providers and the residence unit at Noguera’s centre community at large, early cancer tries to meet this need. In some detection and referral to these basic situations, children need to stay at health teams [will be possible]. the centre to receive treatment for The training of the basic regional health teams will include early Eight projects in low-middle income countries have received funding to build
ably they miss out on education. “This detection of childhood cancer, early local capacity to fi ght childhood cancer
[led us] to try to start an education management of cancer, referrals, system called School at Hospital”, and follow-ups. Also, we will provide the role of mentor is fundamental says Noguera, who explains the instructions in data management, to the success of projects like the one need “to establish a physical space clinical presentations, the use of we under took”, she explains. Isabel either in the hospital or at the ancillary methods of diagnosis, and Mortara, executive director of the residence where we can install a most importantly, the principles UICC (Geneva, Switzerland) adds: library, to hire teachers who can of service delivery. As part of the “Although My Child Matters started work with children at diff erent training programme, we will develop stages in their school life, to provide educational materials of easy use in 2004, it has now evolved into tables, seats, pencils, computers and for the regional team members, and one of the largest childhood cancer the like, to main tain continuous provide detailed contact information communication with the children’s [for liasing with] our team at MCC with mentorship and local capacity original schools, and to create and other centres in Asunción.” In addition to funds, awardees success.” Education [so that] the education will receive expert guidance from an provided by the hospital will be MCM committee-appointed mentor. for the next 2 years, over which offi cially recognised. We want to “The mentoring process has been time the successes of the past will avoid the exclusion of children with considered an important com ponent cancer from the education system, of the MCM programme because it 5 years after it was launched, My providing them the support needed leads to the development of a criti cal mass of individuals with experi ence that it is possible to create altogether Also in Paraguay, Angélica in delivering cancer care pro jects new types of partnerships to address Samudio of the Mother and Child in low-middle income countries”, health challenges that do not receive Centre (MCC), National University explains Raul Ribeiro, chair of suffi of Asunción, received an award the MCM Advisory Committee. cancers in developing countries”, to establish a network to improve “For example, Ligia Fu, who received says Caty Forget, senior director, the early detection of childhood an MCM grant in 2006, to develop Humanitarian Partnership, Sanofi -cancers, to improve access to care, satellite clinics to reduce treat- and to reduce the abandonment ment abandonment in Honduras, of childhood cancer in low and middle of treatment. For children with will mentor Angélica Samudio in income countries will remain an acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, Paraguay in conducting a similar unbalanced burden—but hopefully, for example, the current rate project.” of abandonment of treatment Fu recalls that, as her mentor, manage to make some local dents in at the MCC is 17%. “We will use Ribeiro provided constant help and the 80/20 divide. the connections established by expertise—expertise that she can now Paraguay’s Safe Blood programme pass on to Samudio. “Personally I think Vol 10 March 2009


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