Pediatric cancer is curable when diagnosed early and treated
appropriately, but the prognosis is dismal when these basic elements are
lacking. The gap in survival between first and third world countries will only widen in
coming years. Due to current population growth combined with decreased infant
mortality rates, the number of children with cancer worldwide will increase
by about 30% by 2020 — making childhood cancer a major global health problem.
But the outlook is not hopeless. Through “twinning” partnerships and regional collaborative networks that maximize
technology and share expertise, resources, and purchasing power for drug
procurement — programs like the Global Health Initiative are helping to increase survival rates for children with cancer and blood disorders in low-resource settings. For instance, survival of children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia in countries in Central America with twinning programs and collaborative networks has risen from less than 20% to more than 60% over the last decade.
Learn more about our global health program areas below, or read about our efforts to develop specialized nursing support and psychosocial care in low- and mid-income countries.
programs to improve childhood survival
The “twinning” approach shares Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s
pioneering treatments, latest protocols, and deep experience with clinicians in
developing nations. By exchanging knowledge and building local expertise,
“twinning” seeks to improve childhood cancer and blood disorder survival rates
As part of the Global Health Initiative’s twinning program,
Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s has trained dozens of physicians and nurses,
established standardized treatments, improved diagnosis, and created regional
centers for excellence that are sharing best practices nationwide. Upon invitation from local Ministries of
Health or directly from hospitals and foundations, the GHI offers its know-how
and expertise to partners who are in the process of building a new pediatric
hematology and oncology unit or expanding an existing one.
Global Health twinning programs:
Training and preparing global leaders
Our global health training program educates a wide range of
health care professionals involved in the treatment and prevention of childhood
cancers and blood disorders. We strive to help partner organizations evolve
into regional training centers and referral networks, helping spread expertise
around the world. Initiatives include:
One of the main limitations in advancing our understanding
of childhood cancer is our limited knowledge of its causes. The differences in
the incidence of cancer and blood disorders among children around the globe are
very intriguing; it is possible that the interaction of environment,
socioeconomic conditions, and ethnic factors influence the occurrence of
cancer in some areas. In addition, a
country’s infrastructure and healthcare system shape the level, quality, and
access to care available to children and their families. True advances in the
care for children with cancer and blood disorders worldwide requires research into
the factors driving the diseases.
The Global Health Initiative leads research into:
Contact us to learn how you can support our Global Health Initiative.
Psychosocial care is a key component of cancer care anywhere in the world.