Global HOPE partners with fellowship program at University of Cape Town to expand access to pediatric hematology-oncology physician training in sub-Saharan Africa

Texas Children’s Global HOPE and the African Paediatric Fellowship Programme (APFP) at the University of Cape Town/Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital in South Africa recently welcomed the first fellow in their joint program that offers sub-specialty training in pediatric hematology-oncology (PHO) at one of the leading centers in the sub-Saharan region.

Dr. Katlego Tsimane, a pediatrician from Botswana, began her training in September after being selected for the inaugural training slot. Tsimane is a provider at the second referral hospital in Botswana, where there are currently no PHO services – giving her a special understanding of the urgent need to expand PHO diagnosis and care beyond Princess Marina Hospital in Gaborone, which is currently the only PHO center in the country.

Established in the Department of Pediatrics and Child Health at UCT in 2007, APFP strategically supports the development of a workforce for specialist child health care in Africa. Its graduates come from more than 14 countries across the continent and cover 24 different specialties, with more than 90 percent remaining in Africa to work. Dr. Alan Davidson leads the Pediatric Oncology training program at UCT/RCWMCH and heads the hospital’s PHO service.

In partnering with Texas Children’s Global HOPE, APFP is able to increase the number of PHO training spots it offers and provide enhanced opportunities for leadership training, didactic content and expert faculty lectures and rotations from Baylor College of Medicine faculty. The partnership expands access to PHO training for centers across sub-Saharan African and provides opportunities for collaboration with other Global HOPE-supported training programs in Uganda and Tanzania, offering an experience rooted in context but strongly supported by a larger faculty with respect to teaching and research.

Tsimane was drawn to PHO during pediatric residency training because it offers opportunities for teaching and research, while also combining acute and chronic management of patients that allows for the development of long-term relationships with patients and their families.

Once she completes her two-year fellowship and training, Tsimane will return to Botswana as the first local pediatric hematologist-oncologist and will be able to enhance care and outcomes for the many children with cancer and blood disorders in the country. She looks forward to expanding PHO services to include other major district hospitals; training health care workers in pediatric cancer and blood disorders; and advocating for the availability of essential diagnostic and treatment modalities required for managing pediatric cancer and blood disorders to improve patient outcomes.

About Texas Children’s Global HOPE

Founded in 2016 by Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children’s Hospital and with a foundational $50 million investment from Bristol Myers Squibb Foundation, Global HOPE is a capacity-building initiative to improve outcomes for children with cancer and blood diseases in sub-Saharan Africa. With established programs in Botswana, Malawi, Uganda and Tanzania, and others in development, Global HOPE has treated more than 10,000 patients and trained nearly 4,000 health care workers over the last five years.