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The St. Jude International Outreach Program’s mission is to improve the survival rate of children with cancer and other catastrophic diseases worldwide, through the sharing of knowledge, technology and organizational skills.
There are an estimated 160,000 newly diagnosed cases of childhood cancer worldwide each year, and cancer is emerging as a major cause of childhood death in the developing regions of Asia, South and Central America, northwest Africa and the Middle East.
While over the past 30 years improved therapy has dramatically increased survival rates for children with cancer, still more than 70% of the world’s children with cancer do not have access to modern treatment. St. Jude strives to address the needs of those children in countries that lack sufficient resources and to help them manage their own burden of cases effectively.
While sick children from around the world have always traveled to our hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, being able to provide treatment to children in their own countries is more efficient and less disruptive for them and their families. Because of St. Jude’s international efforts, we are able to reach far more children than would ever be able to come to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. A basic health care infrastructure is needed to support pediatric oncology programs, which in turn further improve the development of basic health care. At the local level, International Outreach develops partnerships with medical institutions and fund-raising organizations and facilitates the involvement of other agencies and organizations to support key programs and the education of local personnel. At the regional level, International Outreach develops programs through the use of technology. The primary goal is to promote local and regional self-sufficiency. This model results in significant overall improvement in health care facilities, the level of practice, the self-confidence of health care providers, and local community involvement. We emphasize the building of regional expertise and diagnostic capabilities, which provide a critical mass of professionals who continually learn from and assist each other. Cost efficiency is also realized because of shared resources.
St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital has partner sites all around the world; there are currently 20 official partner sites in 14 different countries around the world.
St. Jude helps partner medical institutions develop tailored evidenced-based protocols for treating children with cancer and other catastrophic diseases. St. Jude physicians serve as mentors to physicians at our partner sites and consult on difficult cases. We train nurses in best practices in clinical care and work with pathologists on techniques for accurate diagnosis. We also partner with local fundraising foundations that support the medical programs. This model has proven to be highly effective in providing poor children in developing countries access to modern treatment and care.
By sharing knowledge and technology with the local governments, health care providers, and the private sector in these countries, St. Jude is improving diagnoses and treatments to increase the survival rates of children all across the globe.
In addition to training medical teams locally, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital hosts many visiting fellows at our campus in Memphis, Tennessee.
The impact of the International Outreach Program has been dramatic. For example:
The St. Jude International Outreach Program Strategic Plan strives to meet four main goals:
True to the commitment of St. Jude to sharing information with the worldwide medical community, in 2002 St. Jude launched Cure4Kids, a comprehensive online resource dedicated to supporting the care of children with cancer and other catastrophic diseases. Today Cure4Kids (www.Cure4Kids.org) has over 24,000 registered users in more than 175 countries.
Cure4Kids is available free of charge and brings the latest medical knowledge on the treatment of pediatric catastrophic diseases to healthcare providers in countries with limited access to information and resources.
The site provides crucial tools to doctors and nurses around the world such as: