Capacity building for pediatric neuro-oncology in Pakistan- a project by my child matters program of Foundation S

Naureen Mushtaq, Bilal Mazhar Qureshi, Gohar Javed, Nabeel Ashfaque Sheikh, Saqib Kamran Bakhshi, Altaf Ali Laghari, Syed Ather Enam, Shayan Sirat Maheen Anwar, Kiran Hilal, Arsalan Kabir, Alia Ahmad, Amber Goraya, Anum Salman Mistry, Aqeela Rashid, Ata Ur Rehman Maaz, Muhammad Atif Munawar, Atiq Ahmed Khan, Farrah Bashir, Hina Hashmi, Kamran SaeedKumail Khandwala, Lal Rehman, Michael C. Dewan, Muhammad Saghir Khan, Muneeb uddin Karim, Najma Shaheen, Nida Zia, Nuzhat Yasmeen, Raheela Mahmood, Riaz Ahmed Raja Memon, Salman Kirmani, Shahzadi Resham, Shazia Kadri, Shazia Riaz, Syed Ahmer Hamid, Tariq Ghafoor, Uzma Imam, Yaseen Rauf Mushtaq, Zulfiqar Ali Rana, Eric Bouffet, Khurram Minhas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Introduction: Initiated in June 2019, this collaborative effort involved 15 public and private sector hospitals in Pakistan. The primary objective was to enhance the capacity for pediatric neuro-oncology (PNO) care, supported by a My Child Matters/Foundation S grant. Methods: We aimed to establish and operate Multidisciplinary Tumor Boards (MTBs) on a national scale, covering 76% of the population (185.7 million people). In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, MTBs transitioned to videoconferencing. Fifteen hospitals with essential infrastructure participated, holding monthly sessions addressing diagnostic and treatment challenges. Patient cases were anonymized for confidentiality. Educational initiatives, originally planned as in-person events, shifted to a virtual format, enabling continued implementation and collaboration despite pandemic constraints. Results: A total of 124 meetings were conducted, addressing 545 cases. To augment knowledge, awareness, and expertise, over 40 longitudinal lectures were organized for healthcare professionals engaged in PNO care. Additionally, two symposia with international collaborators and keynote speakers were also held to raise national awareness. The project achieved significant milestones, including the development of standardized national treatment protocols for low-grade glioma, medulloblastoma, and high-grade glioma. Further protocols are currently under development. Notably, Pakistan's first pediatric neuro-oncology fellowship program was launched, producing two graduates and increasing the number of trained pediatric neuro-oncologists in the country to three. Discussion: The initiative exemplifies the potential for capacity building in PNO within low-middle income countries. Success is attributed to intra-national twinning programs, emphasizing collaborative efforts. Efforts are underway to establish a national case registry for PNO, ensuring a comprehensive and organized approach to monitoring and managing cases. This collaborative initiative, supported by the My Child Matters/Foundation S grant, showcases the success of capacity building in pediatric neuro-oncology in low-middle income countries. The establishment of treatment protocols, fellowship programs, and regional tumor boards highlights the potential for sustainable improvements in PNO care.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1325167
JournalFrontiers in Oncology
Volume14
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2024

Keywords

  • capacity-building
  • collaborative initiative
  • fellowship program
  • low-middle income countries
  • multidisciplinary tumor boards
  • pediatric neuro-oncology
  • treatment protocols

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