Oncology Program Making Gains in Treating Childhood Cancers

A decade ago, cancer was considered a death sentence in western Kenya. But today, expanded treatment options are bringing hope and saving lives, particularly for children. 

Cancer treatments for children ages 0 to 15 years old are now offered by the Pediatric Oncology Department in the Hemato-Oncology Division at Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital in Eldoret. The team has been taking care of about 150 newly diagnosed patients each year. In 2017, the number increased to approximately 170 new patients. The most common childhood cancers are Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma, Acute Lymphoblastic Lymphoma, Burkitt Lymphoma, Nephroblastoma, and Hodgkin Lymphoma. The AMPATH Consortium lead for pediatric oncology is Dr. Terry Vik of the Indiana University School of Medicine. 

Oncology training is also expanding through use of the Telemedicine Center at the Chandaria Cancer and Chronic Diseases Centre. The Pediatric Oncology department held the 9th Pediatric Oncology Workshop on January 23rd and 24th at the in the Telemedicine facility with 63 participants. The workshop was geared towards training healthcare professionals drawn from various hospitals on diagnosis and treatment of childhood cancers. The workshop was led by qualified professionals from Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis, VU Medical Center in Amsterdam, and Moi University. The two international institutions collaborate with the AMPATH pediatric oncology team in offering teleconference technical support once or twice a month, online consultations, training of laboratory staff, development of treatment protocols and Standard Operating Procedures for various diagnostic tests.

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