Pediatric Cancer Case Management

Project HOPE and the Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation set up a program to help children with cancer in Central and Eastern Europe

Project HOPE, an international health education and humanitarian assistance organization, and Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation have announced a new program to improve the care and quality of life of children living with cancer. Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation has granted this innovative international project, aiming at training health care professionals in Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Romania.

As part of Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation’s Bridging Cancer Care initiative, Project HOPE is responsible for developing a case management model that enhances pediatric oncology care, as well as coordinate economic and psychological support for pediatric patients and their families.

“The ultimate beneficiaries of the program are children with cancer and their families,” said Dr. Judit Csiszar, Regional Director-Europe, for Project HOPE. “The children receives high quality and more comprehensive care in their own communities provided through improved coordination and use of resources as a result of the Project HOPE case management model.”

Cancer is among the leading causes of death in children and adolescents in Europe. Though there have been the considerable advances in the diagnosis and treatment of childhood cancer over the past few years, there is still a wide gap between the survival rates in Eastern and Western Europe. 

The lower survival rates in Eastern Europe may be attributable to the poorer quality of treatment and care and inadequate access to diagnostic and treatment technologies. For this reason the education of health professionals in the field of diagnostics is crucial.

“The Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation’s activities include the support of the initiatives that help reduce health disparities in different parts of the world. In Europe the Foundation focuses on cancer. We believe that this program which is focused on coordinating clinical care and supportive services for children with cancer and their families, and implemented with a partner so experienced in health education as Project HOPE, can really improve the quality of life of children suffering from cancer, and result in better treatment and quality of life outcomes of childhood cancer in four Central and Eastern European countries,” said Peter Koetsier, General Manager Bristol-Myers Squibb.

The program is launched in four countries: Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Romania. The two-year program employs a “Train-the-Trainer” model that will involve local health care professionals. Local health care professionals are trained to train others to build groups of Master Trainers who, in turn, will provide continuous education, mentoring and support to colleagues in their countries. The training sessions started in May 2010.

Each multidisciplinary team of local health care professionals trained includes a doctor, a nurse, a psychologist and a social worker. Together, the team is trained to provide health and psycho-social care in hospital settings and in the communities where children with cancer and their families live.

The training program is organized with the cooperation of the University Children’s Hospital (UCH) in Krakow, Poland, with Professor Walentyna Balwierz, Head of the Oncology Department, leading the effort. The international faculty for the training program will include experts from the United States, the United Kingdom and Central-Eastern European countries.