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Cure4Kids.org has achieved a milestone, reaching Cote d’Ivoire, the 100th country to join the program. Established as a part of the St. Jude International Outreach Program, Cure4Kids is a Web site developed to bring the latest medical knowledge to healthcare providers for treatments of catastrophic diseases in countries with limited resources.
The interactive site provides crucial tools to physicians and nurses around the world. “Health Care providers love Cure4Kids,” said Raul Ribeiro, MD, director, St. Jude International Outreach Program.
“We noticed that physicians visiting St. Jude would spend hours copying articles from books and medical journals to take back home,” Ribeiro said. ”Because of the fast pace of medicine, the articles would be outdated by the time the physicians could read them. At the same time, the Internet became pervasive in many countries outside the United States. The natural thing for us to do was to provide physicians meaningful information that could be easily accessed and remain current.”
The Cure4Kids Web site began in 2002 by reaching out to 120 people located at hospitals in countries such as Brazil and El Salvador. The program’s directors said people helped spread the word which has lead to the site’s overwhelming success.
“People from those pediatric oncology wards told other people with their hospital, and they started signing up,” said Yuri Quintana, Ph.D., Cure4Kids project director and education director for the International Outreach Program. “People from that hospital told neighboring hospitals and colleagues, who then told other people—all by word of mouth. Quickly Cure4Kids was becoming a community, because new groups forming to meet on a regular basis include people from several different countries. An example of this success is physicians in France are using Cure4Kids to meet physicians in Africa, on their own time, to discuss in French, the latest medical treatments and practices. Another example, in India and China physicians are using Cure4Kids for education of their staff, reaching health care workers in remote parts of their country.”
As of February 15, 2005, more than 3,200 people from 115 countries have registered to use Cure4Kids, and more than 65 percent of those are from outside the United States. This population includes people from Latvia, Trinidad and Tobago, Belarus and Bangladesh. The most recent country, Cote d’Ivoire, has a population of 17,327,724. Due to AIDS, Cote d’Ivoire has high infant mortality and death rates. Physicians said Cure4Kids is an important tool in the treatment of the children with catastrophic diseases.
The site offers a digital library with free full-text resources and the latest reference books, on-demand seminars with slides and audio in several languages; a list of events, and virtual meeting rooms.
“If two doctors in different countries want to meet and discuss medical issues, they can go to Cure4Kids any time of the day, and we have several virtual meeting rooms,” Quintana said. “It is being used quite a bit now as people find it a convenient way to communicate.”
Cure4Kids developers said the success of the program would not have been possible without the generosity of St. Jude donors, staff, volunteers, and collaborators worldwide.
St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is internationally recognized for its pioneering work in finding cures and saving children with cancer and other catastrophic diseases. Founded by the late entertainer Danny Thomas and based in Memphis, Tennessee, St. Jude freely shares its discoveries with scientific and medical communities around the world. No family ever pays for treatments not covered by insurance, and families without insurance are never asked to pay. St. Jude is financially supported by ALSAC, its fundraising organization.