Carefully implemented childhood cancer programs in LMICs have documented improvements in survival rate of 30%, within less than a decade. Studies have shown that simple interventions like parental education or organizing parents groups are cost efficient yet very effective strategies that can yield a significant return on investment by lessening abandonment and /or increasing the cost effectiveness thresholds of treatments.
Another effective strategy is that of “twinning programs”. Sustained partnership with centers of excellence in developed countries or other middle income countries with advanced capacities , and modest investment of funding, mentoring, training, and support for key personnel in the LMIC center, effectively complement top-down efforts to improve national healthcare coverage and national cancer control efforts for children.
Contrary to the perception that treatment of childhood cancers is not cost effective, recent researches in Africa and Central America reveal that investment in curing highly cureable and common cancers like acute lymphoblastic leukemia and Burkitt lymphoma is extremely cost-effective, even in LMIC. This indicates that treatment for childhood cancer can become cost effective, given affordable medications.
“Researches in the USA have shown that without making a single new discovery, 30% more teens with cancer could be cured simply by giving them pediatric – instead of adult – treatments.“