Patients with severe blood cancers or non-malignant blood diseases can often be saved only with a bone marrow transplant (BMT). However, in low-middle income countries (LMICs) this procedure is rarely accessible either due to the lack of physician training, hospital infrastructures, drug availability or unaffordable cost.
In 2011, the UIC GlobalBMT initiative was launched to partner with hospitals treating patients with hematologic diseases in LMICs where BMT is highly needed and patients cannot afford to travel to other countries to receive treatment.
Currently, the UIC Center for Global Health has collaborative agreements for developing BMT in Nepal, India, Cuba, Bolivia, Greece, Ukraine and Nigeria. Another project in development is in Uganda.
Our initiative’s main objectives are to facilitate: local capacity building in BMT, implementation of health services in hematology-oncology/BMT, and conducting collaborative research. We value growing through collaborative relationships with our in-country colleagues, allowing each of us to better understand the local needs, strengths, and meanings, and how to best address the medical, socio-cultural, policy, and training challenges in each country.
Thanks to the already established active collaborations with several hospitals in LMICs, we established a GlobalBMT Network which focuses on promoting continuous education and research activities to sustain the growth of BMT; promoting quality standards in BMT for better patient outcome; providing a continuous remote support to clinical BMT programs in LMIC. GlobalBMT meetings have been held in Nepal in 2017 and 2019, in Cuba in 2017, 2018 and 2019, and in Bolivia in 2019.
UIC GlobalBMT Training Program, 2018
Blood cancers, such as leukemias, lymphomas, multiple myeloma, and non-malignant severe blood disorders such as sickle cell anemia, thalassemia or aplastic anemia are life threatening diseases that are very common in many LMIC. Blood and Marrow stem cell transplantation is often the only cure for these patients. Over the last 8 years a GlobalBMT program at UIC was developed to address the needs of LMIC institutions interested in establishing a BMT program in public or private non-profit hospitals. As a result, new BMT programs were started in Nepal and India, and transplantation from incompatible related donors were started in Cuba. In 2018 and 2019, the GlobalBMT program focused on training LMIC individuals by hosting them in Chicago for 2 months. For the 2020-2021 year, the GlobalBMT training program was held virtually.
UIC GlobalBMT Training Program, 2019