Worldwide cancer projects launched

28 Jan 2009

International Union Against Cancer provides seed grants to eight childhood cancer projects in Burkina Faso, Colombia, Ivory Coast, Pakistan and Paraguay

Eight childhood cancer projects in developing countries will receive funding up to €50,000 each this year, the International Union Against Cancer (UICC) and sanofi-aventis announced today.

As in previous years, the 'My child matters' initiative will provide seed grants for each of the projects, and international experts in paediatric oncology, research and public health-care management will help guide the projects.

Each year more than 160,000 children are diagnosed with cancer, and about 90,000 die of their disease. With prompt and effective treatment, most childhood cancers can be cured. In developed countries, the survival rate is nearly 80%. But in developing countries, where 80% of children with cancer live, access to early diagnosis, access to information and effective care are yet not available, and the survival rate drops to 20% or even 10%.

'My child matters'– a long-standing partnership between UICC and sanofi-aventis – aims to correct this imbalance by supporting projects in hospitals, NGOs and other relevant organizations in low and mid- income countries.

“The initiative, which started in 2004, has previously sponsored 24 projects in 16 countries across the world and has now evolved into one of the largest childhood cancer projects in developing countries with mentorship and local capacity building as a strength and key to its success,” says Isabel Mortara, UICC’s Executive Director.

In 2005, 14 projects were funded in 10 pilot countries: Bangladesh, Egypt, Honduras, Morocco, Philippines, Senegal, Tanzania, Ukraine, Venezuela and Vietnam. In 2006, 10 additional projects received grants in 6 countries: Bolivia, Indonesia, Kenya, Mali, Peru and Romania.

“Nearly five years after this initiative was launched, it continues to show that we can create altogether new types of partnerships to meet health challenges that do not receive sufficient attention, such as childhood cancers in developing countries”, says Caty Forget, Senior Director, Humanitarian Partnership, sanofi-aventis.

The eight projects to receive seed grants and mentorship are:

1: Burkina Faso

• Reinforcing the ability to handle childhood cases of cancer at the Yalgado Ouedraogo University Hospital Centre and Charles de Gaulle University Hospital Centre: Diarra Ye, University Hospital Centres of Ouagadougou

2: Colombia

• Establishing a surveillance system for childhood cancer in Cali, Colombia. Luis Eduardo Bravo, Registro Problacional de Cancer de Cali de la Universidad del Valle, Cali

3: Ivory Coast

• Refurbishing of a paediatric oncology unit at the University Hospital Centre of Treichville, Abidjan. Andoh Joseph, University Hospital Centre of Treichville, Abidjan

4, 5 & 6:Pakistan

• Childhood tumour registry, Karachi. Yasmin Bhurgri, Karachi Cancer Registry, Karachi

• Outreach training programme for paediatric oncology in Sindh and Balochistan, Pakistan, to improve diagnosis and treatment of childhood cancers. Muhammad Shamvil Ashraf, Children Cancer Foundation Pakistan Trust, Karachi

• Establishing a paediatric palliative care unit in an oncology department. Agha Shabbir Ali, Department of Oncology and Haematology of the Children’s Hospital and Institute of Child Health, Lahore

7, 8: Paraguay

• Establishing a Paraguay childhood cancer network (PCCN) to improve early detection, access to care and treatment in children with cancer. Angelica Samudio, Pediatric Oncology Unit (POU), Mother and Child Center (MCC) of the School of Medicine, National University of Asuncion, Asuncion

• A bridge for life. Jabibi Noguera, 'Ninos de Acosta Nu' Paediatric General Hospital, Asuncion