One of the most significant barriers to adequately treating children with cancer in resource-limited settings is a lack of health care workers in paediatric oncology. Many training programs and educational materials are available but that information is often difficult to find and not easily accessible. Recognizing this unmet need, the leadership of the International Society of Paediatric Oncology (SIOP)-Paediatric Oncology for Developing Countries (PODC) Education and Training Working Group (E/T WG) sought to investigate which training opportunities were available and make these more accessible to health care workers from resource-limited settings. In October 2014, they launched the initial website with a database of paediatric oncology training programs. The site served as a link between health care workers and the opportunities. Through personal communication, web searches and other methods, they compiled an extensive list. The “Find an Expert” program was developed throughout the following year, in an effort to link providers in resource-limited settings with their counterparts in high-resourced countries for help with care management and additional educational opportunities.
Though obtaining thousands of page views and being visited from 125 countries on the initial website, the SIOP-PODC E/T WG felt that this project had greater potential to reach more people and have a more profound impact. The Paediatric Oncology International Training and Education Network (POINTE) was launched on October 18, 2016 as an extension of this project. POINTE will remain true to the original goals of the founders: not creating any new content, serving as a link to help make existing information more accessible to health care workers from resource-limited settings, and open access with no passwords or members-only restrictions. If just one health care worker benefits from this initiative, they have the potential to touch countless lives
Assistant Professor, Department of Pediatrics, Section of Hematology-Oncology at Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children's Hospital
Assistant Professor, Department of Pediatrics, Division of Hematology-Oncology at University of Illinois College of Medicine at
Paediatric Oncologist, Division of Paediatric Haematology and Oncology, Department of Paediatrics and Child Health at Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital and Wits Donald Gordon Medical Centre
Fellow, Pediatric Hematology-Oncology at Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children's Hospital