Childhood cancer survival rates are as high as 75% in developed countries but as low as 10% in the developing world. We want to even the odds for children with cancer by sharing our knowledge with colleagues in poor countries. Pediatric oncologist Gertjan Kaspers explains in this video how we work.
How we work
Sharing knowledge with developing countries
World Child Cancer NL wants to ensure that children with cancer can be treated sooner and more effectively, not only in the Netherlands, but also in developing countries. We will do this by sharing our knowledge and skills with doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals in poorer countries. Our aim is to increase the chance of cure in these countries.
Experience shows that formal, long-term and professional cooperation with hospitals in developing countries delivers the best results. The partner hospitals also have a role as a training institute, so that many young colleagues benefit from the collaboration. They indicate the priorities for improvement themselves. Based on that, we collectively draft the program. Through research, we keep an eye on progress and adjust the program if necessary.
How does it work?
The program, approved by the Dutch Child Oncology Group consists of:
Training pediatricians, nurses and other professionals in pediatric oncology.
Developing treatment protocols and guidelines for the treatment of cancer in children, tailored to the needs of the partner hospital (customized).
Advice and guidance at a distance, via E-mail and video conference.
Educational programs for families of children with cancer.
Implementation of cancer registration for research and monitoring purposes.
Benefits for Dutch patients
The experience and knowledge gained will also benefit Dutch patients, doctors and researchers. For example, our researchers will be able to gain access to tumor material from patients with rare conditions for laboratory research. Furthermore, our Dutch colleagues will learn a lot about working in special circumstances during their working visits. We will also gain knowledge about the effects of medication on Dutch children with different ethnic backgrounds. And cooperation in international scientific research projects means benefits for Dutch patients as well.
Now and in the future
World Child Cancer NL is currently working with partner hospitals in Kenya, Malawi, Indonesia and Kosovo. The aim is to extend the number of twinning partners in the coming years, in order to offer realistic hope of cure for thousands of children with cancer.
Experiences with similar programs, for example those from the VU University Medical Center (Amsterdam, NL) and the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital (Memphis, USA), show that this way of working together is extremely successful. At the partner hospital in Kenya, the survival rate for certain types of cancer tripled from less than 10% in 2009 to 30% now. A simple awareness program for parents of children with cancer in Indonesia, had a similar effect; an increase in survival rate from 15% to 30%.