|dc.description.abstract||About 9,000 children die of cancer every year in the Americas, where cancer is the leading cause of death from disease among children under 15. In high-income countries, childhood cancer mortality has been reduced significantly and survival rates are 80% or higher. However, in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC), pediatric cancer survival rates are significantly lower than in high-income countries, due to the gaps in access to early diagnosis and effective treatment.
In order to close this gap it is essential to foster collaboration among governments, civil society, and academic institutions—including international cooperation and South-South collaboration. This will help LAC countries to develop strategies to improve early diagnosis and treatment of pediatric cancer. Along these lines, the PAHO Pediatric Cancer Working Group is trying to improve access to care for children with cancer and to reduce inequities associated with their prognosis in LAC. The Working Group, formed in 2016 on the heels of a policy dialogue by the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC), gathered the leading pediatric oncologists from public health institutions in LAC, as well as representatives from Canada’s Hospital for Sick Children, the University of Chile, the University of the West Indies, and UICC.
To first better understand the situation, barriers, and challenges within health systems to better care for children with cancer, the Working Group is conducting an analysis of childhood cancer care and outcomes in LAC, coordinated by the University of Chile. Through a key informant survey and interviews, information is being collected on governance, financing, delivery of treatment and care, and surveillance of childhood cancer. The analysis will lead to the identification of successful models of childhood cancer care for the Region, and will form the basis upon which feasible and sustainable strategies will be suggested to improve care for children with cancer in the Region.
PAHO organized this first face-to-face meeting of the Working Group in order to discuss that analysis and determine future actions. The meeting included 33 professionals from 22 countries of the Americas, including representatives of Ministries of Health, children’s hospitals, academic institutions, and international organizations. The goal was to strengthen the group, identify possible areas of collaboration, and become an element of support for the development and improvement of pediatric cancer programs in LAC.||en_US