MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Tennessee has announced a $100 million plan to expand a global outreach program in hopes of improving access and quality of medical care for many children with cancer around the world.
Executives of the Memphis-based hospital announced the major initiative Thursday, saying their goal was to influence the care of as much as 30 percent of children with cancer worldwide in the next decade.
St. Jude said it is expanding its International Outreach Program, which was founded in 1993 and presently includes 24 hospitals in 17 countries. The hospital’s Department of Global Pediatric Medicine, formed in 2016, accelerated the hospital’s global outreach. The department has created St. Jude Global, which aims to improve access to care and quality of treatment by focusing on education of medical workers and research.
A statement released by the hospital said it also seeks to strengthen health systems that are treating children with cancer and establish standards and guidelines to improve patient care. Hospital officials plan to form what they describe as a global alliance to help transfer knowledge across regions and programs.
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More than 80 percent of children with cancer live in low- and middle-income countries, where they lack access to adequate diagnosis and treatment, St. Jude said.
“St. Jude founder Danny Thomas dreamed of a world where ‘no child should die in the dawn of life,'” said Dr. James R. Downing, the hospital’s president and chief executive officer, in a statement. “While we have made great strides in achieving this dream in some parts of the world, the majority of children still die from cancers that can be effectively treated.
The hospital said that among several other nations, it is building relations in Russia, Myanmar, Cambodia and sub-Saharan Africa.
St. Jude is considered a leading researcher of cancer and other life-threatening diseases that affect children.