MIllwood, VA, February 3, 2014

On World Cancer Day, Project HOPE says its innovative approaches to nurse training in China are yielding key advances in the treatment of pediatric cancer care in 19 hospitals in a country where 45,000 children are diagnosed with the disease every year.

Cancer is the leading cause of death around the world and the WHO estimates that 84 million people will die of cancer between 2005 and 2015 without treatment. Nurses in China are now gaining specialized training in social work to provide psycho-social support to patients and their families as they learn to navigate the cancer treatment process in the hospital and beyond. More than 14,000 young patients were treated for cancer at the Shanghai Children's Medical Center (SCMC) in 2012. The SCMC became the nation’s leading center for children’s cancer treatment and care with the opening of the new Hematology Oncology tower in June 2012. Today, the center treats more than 500 new cancer patients each year, and Project HOPE has trained its doctors and nurses.

World Cancer Day

"The demand for pediatric cancer care in China is rapidly increasing, and innovative training programs for nurses are crucial to meet the enormous challenges of caring for a rising number of young patients," said Lily Hsu, Project HOPE's Director of Programs in Shanghai. 

“Now, highly skilled nurses are helping families manage the process of complex and lengthy cancer treatment and inpatient and outpatient services. Project HOPE’s oncology training program at SCMC helps to advance rapid treatment progress and to reduce the complication rate from chemotherapy.

The nurse training program is one of several areas undertaken by Project HOPE at SCMC since 2010. Thanks to generous grants from the Hospira Foundation. USAID/ASHA, and Project HOPE's global expertise, SCMC has been transformed into the leading institution for pediatric oncology medicine, nursing, and social work practices in China. Educational conferences and workshops have paved the way for the creation of similar clinician, nursing and social work methodologies at other Chinese children’s hospitals.

Project HOPE's main areas of expertise for improving pediatric oncology care at SCMC include:

  • Improving the clinical and research capacity in cancer diagnoses, treatment, and care. Upgrading lab equipment and increasing cancer diagnosis and research capacity with the support from USAID/ASHA grants. The improved diagnosis capacity has benefited more than 17,551 children cancer patients to receive advanced cancer laboratory diagnosis and examination. 
  • In addition to training doctors in diagnoses and treatment, Project HOPE initiated nurse and social worker training program to improve the level of care at SCMC by connecting local talent with international well-known, international experts to train a group of master trainers who will in turn train more peers. 
  • Establish a pediatric hematology oncology nursing specialty network consisting of 19 hospitals and 40 master trainers under the China Anti-Cancer Association to launch the pediatric hematology oncology nursing training platform to benefit clinicians and nurses at hospitals outside of Shanghai to narrow the gap in pediatric cancer therapy in China.

Four systematic palliative care programs for 120 health care providers are focusing on cancer symptom management and family support, loss and bereavement consultation to promote physical and psychological support for children with cancer and their family members. SCMC also integrated social service network of psychological services and parental support to help more than 370 families navigate the painful journey of cancer therapy in the hospital and at home.

Project HOPE has programs in Eastern Europe to address the needs of pediatric cancer patients by improving treatment and coordinating medical and psycho-social care. HOPE also helped to establish the Basrah Children's Hospital in Iraq in 2010, a specialty referral hospital, dedicated to treating pediatric cancer. HOPE equipped the hospital with donated equipment and supplies, and trained its staff, using privately donated funds totaling more than $30 USD million.

About Project HOPE
Founded in 1958, Project HOPE (Health Opportunities for People Everywhere) is dedicated to providing lasting solutions to health problems with the mission of helping people to help themselves. Identifiable to many by the SS HOPE, the world's first peacetime hospital ship, Project HOPE now conducts land-based medical training and health education programs in more than 35 countries across five continents.  Follow us on Twitter @projecthopeorg

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Geraldine Carroll 540-257-3746

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