• 2018 Annual Report

Texas Children's 2018 Annual Report

Global HOPESM initiative in Africa makes great strides during first year

In February 2017, Texas Children’s Cancer and Hematology Centers, Baylor College of Medicine International Pediatric AIDS Initiative (BIPAI), the Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation, and leaders in Botswana, Uganda and Malawi, announced a $100 million initiative to create an innovative pediatric hematology-oncology treatment network in sub-Saharan Africa.

Called Global HOPE (Hematology-Oncology Pediatric Excellence), the aim of the initiative is to build long-term capacity to treat and dramatically improve the prognosis of children with cancer and blood disorders in sub-Saharan Africa, where the overwhelming majority of pediatric cancer and hematology patients do not survive. The mortality rate for the more than 100,000 children who develop cancer each year is estimated to be as high as 90 percent, in large part due to an inadequate health care infrastructure and a significant lack of expert physicians and other health care workers trained to treat children with cancer.

In its first year, Global HOPE has made great strides to improve these outcomes. More than 3,000 patients have been treated and over 900 health care professionals have been trained. Cancer awareness and survivor events have been held in Botswana, Uganda and Malawi, and the first class of physician fellows graduated from Global HOPE’s Pediatric Hematology Oncology Fellowship Program in East Africa.

“We’re very excited by the progress in a relatively short amount of time,” said Dr. David Poplack, director of Global HOPE. “We are beginning to see improvements in the survival rates of children with cancer”.

Global HOPE is modeled after the largest pediatric HIV treatment network in the world, created in 2003 by the Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation, BIPAI, and the Governments of Botswana, Uganda and Malawi. That network leveraged existing experience, infrastructure and public/private partnerships to train 52,000 health care professionals, and provided care for over one million children with HIV and their families in sub-Saharan Africa, lowering the mortality rate for these children to 1.2 percent.

“The success we’ve had in radically changing the course of pediatric HIV/AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa is due in large part to the tremendous support provided by the country governments, health care providers on the ground and donors who have made our work possible,” said Dr. Mark W. Kline, president and founder of BIPAI, physician-in-chief of Texas Children’s Hospital and chair of the Department of Pediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine. “We are very pleased by the progress Global HOPE already has made in building a self-sustaining infrastructure that changes the tide of these childhood diseases in sub-Saharan Africa.”

Global HOPE is building on the work Texas Children’s Cancer and Hematology Centers and its partners have been doing for children with cancer and blood disorders in Africa for a decade. Through the partnership, Global HOPE is active in three countries and has 51 faculty and staff working in Texas Children’s global sites.

These sites, called Centers of Excellence, are being expanded in Botswana, Malawi and Uganda, and will serve as regional hubs for Global HOPE’s pediatric hematology/oncology programs. Progress also is being made on implementing standard treatment protocols and clinical practice guidelines to ensure quality pediatric hematology/oncology care.

Texas Children’s Hospital hosted His Excellency Mokgweetsi E.K. Masisi, president of Botswana, along with his family and members of his delegation on September 21, 2018. President Masisi met with clinical and executive leaders at Texas Children’s for a luncheon and tour to discuss pressing health care issues facing Botswana. The gathering also served as an opportunity to assess the progress we have made together to help combat pediatric illnesses in his country, including HIV/AIDS, cancer and hematologic diseases.

The Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation is committing $50 million over five years to fund the training of health care providers as well as clinical infrastructure and operations. Global HOPE will raise an additional $100 million for the initiative.