Every year 300,000 children will develop cancer worldwide, of these, 240,000 cases are expected in developing countries1. Early diagnosis is critical for the treatment and the cure of child cancer2. Nonetheless, in developing countries many children still die, sometimes without effective pain relief or even knowing that they have cancer1. The survival rate for children with cancer in developed countries is 80%, while for children in low and middle income countries, it is as low as 10%1. It doesn’t have to be this way!
In early 2016, Sandoz signed a partnership agreement with World Child Cancer, a non-profit organization with programs across 9 countries. This partnership focused initially on the Philippines where Sandoz supported the development of specialist cancer treatment centers in the island region of Mindanao where 1,000 cases of childhood cancer are expected annually1. Since then, World Child Cancer estimates that due to our support and the hard work of the local teams 945 children were diagnosed who might not otherwise have received a diagnosis1. After the positive outcomes in the Philippines, in 2017 the partnership was extended to support programs in Ghana, Mexico and Myanmar.
In the regions in which World Child Cancer works in these countries an estimated 6,000 children develop cancer each year, but less than 20% even receive a diagnosis let alone effective treatment1. With this ongoing partnership, we are helping build medical capacity in the region and contributing towards improving childhood cancer survival rates, bringing them closer to those in the developed world.
Through this partnership we support the training and professional development of local healthcare professionals so that they can offer the best care and treatment possible, help to raise awareness of childhood cancer symptoms, and support the establishment of shared care treatment centers in rural locations so that more children receive an early diagnosis and treatment.
According to World Child Cancer, across the four countries supported by Sandoz, 2,468 children have been newly diagnosed since 2016 and 2,791 Healthcare Professionals have received training to provide better care for children with cancer and their families.
A lot more can be done. Together with World Child Cancer, we are working on improving childhood cancer survival rates in the developing world.