Pediatric Cancer Initiative in Central America

As part of a global initiative of the World Health Organization (WHO) on childhood cancer, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) together with St. Jude Children's Research Hospital are collaborating with the Ministries of Health of Central America and the Caribbean (Dominican Republic and Haiti) to strengthen the health system response to pediatric cancer.


Cancer is a leading cause of death for children (ages 0-19) with approximately 400,000 new cases diagnosed each year (1)


  • Create a National Pediatric Cancer Plan for each of the countries of Central America, the Dominican Republic and Haiti.
  • Improve overall survival rates and quality of care for children with cancer, through increased coverage, access, and quality of health services, including supportive and palliative care, for major cancers of the children.



Those responsible for national cancer programs and pediatric oncologists from countries in Central America convened with the Commission of the Ministries of Health of Central America (COMISCA) to develop a framework for a sub-regional initiative to improve the response of the health system for children with cancer. 

From this intervention, a regional initiative for Comprehensive Care of Pediatric Cancer in the countries of the region emerged. From this initiative, it is expected to implement specific interventions at the country level, applying the WHO technical package on the management of childhood cancer and related tools. This will include country evaluations, development of pediatric cancer plans, promotion of guidelines, provider training in early diagnosis, treatment, supportive and palliative care, and registration of pediatric cancer.


Proposed next steps:

  1. Conduct an analysis of the regional situation of human resources and infrastructure in regional hospitals in reference to pediatric oncology.
  2. Formulate a national action plan to reduce pediatric cancer in Central America, the Dominican Republic and Haiti (although Haiti is not a member of COMISCA, it is a member of the Association of Pediatric Hematology Oncology of Central America - AHOPCA - and an important member of St Jude Global Alliance).

(1) Steliarova-Foucher E, Colombet M, Ries LAG, et al. International incidence of childhood cancer, 2001-10: a population-based registry study. Lancet Oncol. 2017;18(6):719-731.


Related documents

Reference documents





Participantes en la Iniciativa para la Atención Integral del Cáncer Pediátrico en Centroamérica
Participans at the meeting held in December 2019 in San Salvador