I lead a team of pediatricians and pediatric trainees working on several projects with our partners in Guyana to improve pediatric care at the tertiary care center there, where there are almost no pediatric sub-specialists. Guyana will soon have its first fully-qualified pediatric hematologist/oncologist, and I will be going with my team to meet with her, see her facilities and observe how she provides patient care, review the educational and clinical needs of the pediatrics department, and discuss how we can support building out a high-quality pediatric cancer treatment program in Guyana. Additionally, I plan to visit the pediatric unit where I have been working on a project to improve asthma outcomes to reinforce the training my team has been doing and troubleshoot the project if needed with our Guyanese partner, and to plan for an upcoming project providing pediatric ultrasound training to several faculty members.
There are very few pediatric subspecialists in Guyana, so all care outside of the NICU is currently delivered by general pediatricians. Because of close international partnerships, that is rapidly changing, and as of this year, they will have their first fully-trained pediatric hematologist-oncologist. However, taking excellent care of children with cancer requires more than just a trained physician; it takes qualified nurses and pharmacists, an excellent facility, and many other things. We want to contribute to building those skills and facilities for the children of Guyana, to give kids with cancer a better shot at a healthy life. This trip will help establish a path to doing that, and hopefully result in a roadmap for that work, as well as a stronger partnership for all of our pediatric collaborations.
This is just one step in the road to a strong partnership to improve pediatric heme/onc care and sustain our relationship with our Guyanese partners over many domains. My team is committed to continuing to provide training, education and other resources into the future. For the proposed heme/onc program, it all starts with seeing the facilities, meeting some of the families receiving treatment, and discussing the needs. In addition, this trip will allow me an opportunity to follow up and ensure sustained impact of other projects we are working on, in safe asthma discharge for children and training in point-of-care ultrasound.