Specialists in hematology, blood banking, stem cell transplant, and pathology at Texas Children’s Hematology Center perform outreach services to help colleagues in developing countries to support the diagnosis and treatment of children with blood diseases. The outreach initiative is currently most active in Angola, Botswana, Uganda, Tanzania, and Malawi. Additionally, Texas Children’s Hospital and Baylor College of Medicine directly employs expatriate general pediatricians and hematologists to work in developing countries.
More than 90% of children with serious blood disorders live in developing countries where resources for diagnosis and treatment are severely limited. As a result, most affected children die early, and usually without a diagnosis. For example, more than half of the 250,000 babies born every year with sickle cell disease in Africa do not live to see their fifth birthday. Aplastic anemia and hemophilia are other serious blood disorders that can have a devastating impact on the life expectancy of children who live in resource-limited countries.
As one of the largest and most comprehensive pediatric blood disease programs in the United States, Texas Children’s Hematology Center collaborates with governments and private organizations to expand capacity for the diagnosis and treatment of blood diseases in developing countries.
Current Outreach Projects
Angola. Our participation in the Angola Sickle Cell Initiative (ASCI) has helped to create and implement a comprehensive sickle cell disease initiative in Angola, a country in southwest Africa. Discover the Angola Sickle Cell Initiative at txch.org
Botswana. The Global Hematology Program specialists who work in Botswana are the only pediatric hematologists in the country. These hematologists provide care to children with blood disorders, such as sickle cell anemia, hemophilia, and leukemia. They also train local medical and nursing staff about caring for children with hematological conditions.
Uganda. Two Global Hematology Program specialists are based in Uganda. These hematologists will focus on the education of medical and nursing staff in collaboration with faculty at the Mulago Hospital at Makerere University and the Uganda Cancer Institute.
Research in the Global Hematology Program spans a wide range of areas from basic feasibility studies of early diagnosis and treatment of sickle cell disease to clinical trials of diagnosis and treatment strategies. Our current research interests include the development of inexpensive methods for rapid diagnosis of sickle cell disease, and finding more effective ways of treating the disease. The Global Program is dedicated to integrating research to increase our understanding of blood disorders and to develop new, more effective ways to diagnose and treat these conditions in developing countries.