In a concerning revelation, the Dorcas Cancer Foundation, a non-profit organization, has brought to light a distressing surge in childhood cancer diagnoses across sub-Saharan Africa. The region finds itself grappling with an alarming shortage of adept radiation oncology professionals, a situation exacerbated by the mounting cases of pediatric cancer.
The organization’s statement underscores the gravity of the situation, drawing attention to the critical need for skilled professionals specializing in radiation oncology for children. Against this backdrop, the Dorcas Cancer Foundation has been tirelessly engaged in endeavors to elevate the standard of childhood cancer care in Africa. Commencing this noble mission in 2015, the foundation has now proudly announced the successful completion of the second edition and official launch of the Pediatric Radiation Oncology (Virtual) Course, christened PedROC.
The PedROC initiative stands as a Pioneering endeavor aimed at bridging the colossal gap in access to specialized training for pediatric cancer treatment in sub-Saharan Africa. It’s a groundbreaking effort that leverages innovative methodologies to enhance the proficiency and expertise of healthcare professionals specializing in pediatric radiation oncology.
At the forefront of this transformative initiative is Dr. Adedayo Joseph, a clinical radiation oncologist at the NSIA-LUTH Cancer Center in Lagos, Nigeria, and the visionary founder of the Dorcas Cancer Foundation. Dr. Joseph emphasizes the pivotal role of technology in obliterating the barriers to training, using it as a potent tool to transcend the limitations of access.
One of the most heartening aspects of the PedROC journey, according to Dr. Joseph, has been the overwhelming global response and support from both within and beyond the continent. This collaborative effort highlights the urgency and determination to rectify the dire lack of expertise and resources for pediatric cancer treatment in regions that are disproportionately affected.
Mr. Korede Akindele, the Head of Programs at the Dorcas Cancer Foundation, drives home the stark reality that despite 80% of the world’s children residing in low and middle-income countries, a staggering majority of whom are in sub-Saharan Africa, only a mere 20% of experts and resources catering to pediatric cancer are located in these regions. This glaring disparity is manifest in the escalating rates of childhood cancer diagnoses, with a notable discrepancy in survival rates.
The harrowing statistics reveal that low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) report an abysmal 30% survival rate for pediatric cancers, a stark contrast to the commendable 80-90% survival rates observed in high-income countries. Dr. Azeezat Ajose, who has volunteered as the research coordinator with the Dorcas Cancer Foundation, underscores the critical role of a cohesive and expertly skilled multidisciplinary team in shaping the prospects of survival for children afflicted by this formidable condition.
In a landscape marked by increasing childhood cancer diagnoses, the Dorcas Cancer Foundation stands as a beacon of hope and progress, striving to reshape the narrative of pediatric cancer care in sub-Saharan Africa. Their dedication, underscored by the PedROC initiative, signals a united effort to bolster survival rates and empower healthcare professionals with the tools and expertise needed to combat this pressing crisis.