Survival of children with cancer in high-income countries has improved dramatically in the past decades, from <30% in 1960 to >75% nowadays. However, 80% of children with cancer live in low-income countries, and survival from cancer in children living in such countries is less than 10%. That explains that by far the majority of children dying from cancer lived in a low-income country, with approximately 200,000 children dying each year. The Princess Máxima Center therefore will support health care providers working in such countries to treat their children with cancer as good as locally possible. The mission of this so-called outreach program is to improve the care and cure of children with cancer in low-income countries.
The model that we will use is that of twinning programs. These programs require two partners, and the collaboration has to be based on equivalence, mutual trust and respect. Bilateral long-term commitment is essential. Partners in the low-income country will set the local priorities for improvement. The local institution has to support the collaboration and must be committed to improve the childhood cancer program. The development and execution of a twinning program will be based on an explicit assessment of needs; regular evaluation, transparent reporting and critical appraisal of results.
Essential elements to achieve improved care for children with cancer are adequate registration of patients, appropriate treatment guidelines, improvement of facilities, adequate quantity and quality of local staff, sharing of knowledge, an effective social support program and locally relevant research to enable an evidence based approach of interventions.
Several twinning programs have been active from different institutes in the Netherlands for many years. The partners are located in Indonesia, Malawi and Kenya. It is our ambition to expand the number of twinning programs gradually from three to ten.
For more information, please contact us at: Academy@prinsesmaximacentrum.nl.