Global Initiative for Childhood Cancer: progress and challenges in Panama

Quintero et al.

Despite being classified as a high-income country, Panama still faces challenges in providing care for children and adolescents with cancer. Annually, 170 new cases of childhood cancer are diagnosed in Panama, and the survival rate is around 60%. To improve this, the establishment of a Pediatric Cancer Commission comprised of healthcare professionals and nonprofit organizations has been a critical step toward the objectives outlined in the CureAll framework of the World Health Organization Global Initiative for Childhood Cancer (GICC). To improve childhood cancer care in Panama, a workshop for cancer in children and adolescents was conducted with the support of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Children’s Hospital Colorado, the Ministry of Health of Panama, and the Pan American Health Organization. The commissions established were on: Nursing, Palliative Care, Psychosocial, Hospital Registry, Early Diagnosis, and Health Services. Each commission has a specific project to be implemented in the period 2021–2029 to continue the progress toward improving childhood cancer care. 
Since the start of implementation of the GICC in Panama, important achievements have included the launch in 2021 of the Guide for the Diagnosis of Cancer in Children and Adolescents, and training programs for primary care health personnel. Through these programs, more than 1 000 health professionals have been trained on diagnosis of cancer in childhood and adolescence. Challenges remain, such as access to quality care, and it is essential to continue efforts to improve childhood cancer care.

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