Inauguration of the paediatric hemato oncology department and the flow cytometry laboratory at the Hospital of the School of Medicine of the National University, Asuncion, Paraguay

February 20, 2012

My Child Matters, launched in 2005 and aiming to fighting against childhood cancer in low and mid-income countries has already provided support to 43 hospitals and NGOs in 26 countries to reduce inequalities between developed and resource-constrained countries through grass-roots projects. Today, 20 projects across 16 countries continue to benefit from this initiative to improve every link in the health chain: better information, education and prevention, improved training for qualified personnel, helping to ensure earlier diagnosis, fostering better access to care and better pain management, developing palliative care and encouraging better understanding of the social aspects of this disease both for children and their families.

In Paraguay, with the My child Matters support, in an effort to reduce the number of paediatric cancer patients dropping out of treatment, a national network of professional support for childhood cancer has already been formed (and declared of national interest) and a number of satellite clinics have been opened. Patient treatment dropouts have decreased from 20% to 0% in two years. The programme has expanded to include training projects by twinning with Spain and the United States, and a South/South pooling of expertise with Argentina and Bolivia.

On February 15, 2012, on International Childhood Cancer Day, this on-going My Child Matters project at the Pediatric Cancer Unit (PCU) of the Mother and Child Center (MCC) part of the Teaching Hospital of the School of Medicine of the National University, Asuncion, Paraguay, providing cancer care for children under 18 years will be inaugurating a new paediatric hemato oncology department and a flow cytometer laboratory for children with leukemia.

Care free of charge will be given to children with cancer at this center, housed in a modern facility offering new patient care areas (20 private patient rooms with bathrooms, and 4 isolation rooms with a foyer), healthcare providers’ common areas, laboratories, offices and conference rooms.

This department will participate in providing training in the specialty and be an educational resource for the entire country. Aligning with the School of Medicine, it will participate in increasing human capacity for pediatric oncology and support care, and continuing medical / nursing education.

At the national level, the department will be considered as a center of excellence for paediatric hematology and oncology diagnosis and care , and will stimulate collaborations with other centers for children with cancer in the country.

At the regional level, the department will collaborate with other institutions in the region such as those in the northeast region of Argentina and southern Bolivia by sharing resources (access to the flow cytometer facilities in the department laboratories), clinical protocols, and educational resources.