The first participants in a new pediatric oncology fellowship established with the world’s largest children’s cancer hospital found much to admire at Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center, and much that they hope to put in practice at home.
Four pediatric oncology fellows from Children’s Cancer Hospital Egypt (CCHE) in Cairo spent six weeks at Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s this summer and fall. They learned about clinical operations and research by observing, working with patient care teams, and meeting with staff members.
Opened in 2007, CCHE includes more than 300 beds for pediatric cancer patients. The state-of-the-art facility in Cairo provides free cancer care to children throughout North Africa and the Middle East thanks to donations that came in from Egypt and around the world.
The program enabled the fellows to immerse themselves in the clinical care system at Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s. One of the biggest differences, they noticed, was that physicians here have smaller case loads, which allows them and the care team to spend more time with patients and their families. “The level of attention given to each family is enormous,” said fellow Ahmed Mahmoud Abdelfattah, MD. “Family members are informed about and participate in discussions about all aspects of care, including nutrition, spiritual matters, and psychological issues.”
The division of labor in Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s clinics contributes to this circle of support, the fellows found. “Here, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and nurses take on some of the responsibilities that physicians have back home,” Abdelfattah said. The benefits of this approach underscore Egypt’s need for more advanced pediatric oncologists and specialized clinical caregivers – which CCHE is addressing by establishing its own training academy and research facility.
The fellows hope to take the team model of care they observed at Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s, in which physicians, nurses, nutritionists, social workers, and others coordinate contact with patients and families back to the Cairo hospital.
A group of Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s fellows have also planned a trip to visit the Cairo hospital. During their visit they hope to gain valuable insight that will continue to build upon Dana-Farber’s mission to advance the understanding, treatment, and prevention of cancer in children and adults.
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Communications