Delivering Hope and Health

BMS Foundation Announces $100 Million Global HOPE Program to Help Childhood Cancer Patients in Africa

For children with cancer, where they live too often determines their chance of survival.

Source: BMS

The Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation, Texas Children’s Cancer and Hematology Centers and Baylor College of Medicine International Pediatric AIDS Initiative at Texas Children’s Hospital (BIPAI) recently launched Global HOPE (Hematology-Oncology Pediatric Excellence), a program that aims to improve the health outcomes of children with cancer living in southern and east Africa.

Global HOPE will partner with local Governments and Ministries of Health to build medical capacity to diagnose and treat pediatric blood disorders and cancer in Botswana, Malawi and Uganda. The initiative will also create significant clinical, educational and research capabilities. Doctors, nurses and ancillary professionals will be recruited from around the world to provide training to local healthcare professionals and to begin treating children with blood disorders and cancer immediately. The Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation has committed $50 million and BIPAI will raise a minimum of $50 million for the intiative.

“Our goal is and must continue to be that no child — anywhere in the world — should die from cancer,” says John Damonti, president of the Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation. “But at a minimum, all children should have the same fighting chance.”

In Africa, more than 100,000 children will develop cancer this year, and the vast majority will die, as they have little access to diagnostic and treatment services. This is a stark contrast to high-income countries, where 80 percent of pediatric cancer patients will survive.

The Global HOPE initiative will train an estimated 4,800 healthcare professionals from Botswana, Uganda, Malawi and other African countries, including doctors and nurses specializing in pediatric hematology-oncology and social workers. The program estimates that over 5,000 children will receive care in the first five years.

The Global HOPE initiative will be modeled on the work of the Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation, BIPAI and the Governments of Botswana, Uganda and Malawi, which created the largest pediatric HIV treatment network in the world, leveraging existing experience, infrastructure, and public/private partnerships created through the initiative. Since 2003, the Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation and BIPAI have trained 52,000 healthcare professionals and currently provide care for nearly 300,000 children with HIV and their families in sub-Saharan Africa, lowering the mortality rate for these children to 1.2 percent.

“We are excited to launch this critical initiative to help children with blood disorders and cancer. Working with our partners and drawing on our expertise of building sustainable health systems in underserved countries, we will help make a significant difference in the outcomes for children while creating a blueprint for other countries to follow,” says Damonti.