FUNDACIÓN NUESTROS HIJOS LEADSTHE IMPLEMENTATION OF A PALLIATIVE CARE PROGRAM FOR PEDIATRIC CANCER PATIENTS IN LATIN AMERICA
With support from Fondo Chile, the Agency for International Cooperation (AGCI) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Peru, Bolivia, Colombia, and Paraguay look to replicate the Chilean model for a palliative care and pain management program.
The number pediatric cancer survivors in Chile (75%) are very close to those achieved in developed countries (80%), and include a palliative Care Program which allows for the 80% of youngsters who will not manage to defeat the illness to spend this stage of their lives at home, as recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO).
The opportunity to achieve these numbers has been, to a large extent, due to the joint efforts of Fundación Nuestros Hijos and Public Health Services, who this year have marked 25 years of cooperation in their search to comprehensively assist children with cancer in Chile.
THE CONTINENT UNITES
The Palliative Care and Pain Management Program evolved in three stages, initiated last March, when six pediatric oncology care centers in Latin America, represented by 11 health professionals from Bolivia, Peru, Paraguay, and Columbia participated in a course of study for palliative care and pain management developed in Santiago. This training initiative, organized by FNH, had the support of the University of Chile and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO).
During the next stage, which will begin during the second semester of 2016, professionals from FNH will travel to the medical centers of the professional participants to introduce the local health area to palliative care, with emphasis on training oncology teams.
The third and last part of the program, which will also take place in the invited countries, will engage non-professionals, providing parents of children in each of the centers with empowerment strategies in the care and emotional support of their children during this stage.
After finishing this program, FNH hopes to collaborate with the implementation of hospitality centers in these four countries, aiming to diminish the drop-out rates of oncology treatments and therefore raise the pediatric survival numbers.
GREEN LIGHT GIVEN TO LAUNCH THE DEVELOPMENT OF CONTROL PROGRAMS FOR PEDIATRIC CANCER IN LATIN AMERICA
The ethics committee of the University of Chile approved the project that, in its first phase, will generate a map of how the care of pediatric cancer is delivered, financed, and organized in 12 of the region’s countries.
There is a growing interest in Latin America to consolidate the control and management of pediatric cancer. Nonetheless, the existing information and guidance needed to incorporate this control on national health systems is lacking.
Fundación Nuestros Hijos, together with Childhood Cancer International (CCI), the Hospital for Sick Children of Canada and the Union for International Cancer Control of Switzerland, has taken this opportunity to come together and sponsor a study which will describe the present state of these programs in 12 Latin American countries.
The plan to map the manner in which care for pediatric cancer is delivered, financed, and organized will allow for the sharing of successful models in the region, and provide for the development of a specific model that will include the key elements needed to improve the health systems utilized in the control of pediatric cancer on the continent.
Dr. Cristóbal Cuadrado, from the University of Chile, along with Dr. Sumit Gupta, from the Hospital for Sick Children in Canada, are among other principal researchers and co-researchers working on this project. The Ethics Committee of the University of Chile has given the investigation the “green light,” which is now in the process of perfecting the tool that will be used on the sample.
The results of this “mapping” will be shared with participants in the study, as well as with key individuals who work in pediatric health and cancer control in the 12 countries involved. International organizations committed to pediatric health programs at a national and global level, such as the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nation’s International Emergency Fund (UNICEF), and the Save the Children Foundation will also receive the results.