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Centre for Global Child Health

Global Child Health teams at SickKids celebrate Canada 150+

SickKids is proud to be a part of Canada’s contribution to improving the health and wellbeing of women, children and adolescents around the world. As one of the world’s foremost paediatric health-care institutions and Canada’s leading centre dedicated to advancing children’s health, SickKids is in a unique position to make an impact on a global level.

In honour of Canada 150+ and Childhood Cancer and Sickle Cell Disease Awareness month in September, the SickKids Centre for Global Child Health (C-GCH) is celebrating the SickKids-Caribbean Initiative (SCI), a Canadian-Caribbean partnership to enhance capacity for care of children living with cancer and blood disorders in the Caribbean.

Photo of the SCI team at the Annual General Meeting in Barbados, May 2016
SCI Annual General Meeting in Barbados, May 2016


In some countries, limited access to diagnostic and treatment services puts children with cancer and blood disorders at a disadvantage. Clinical outcomes are worsened, as access to essential medicines and treatment are often limited. To help tackle these issues in the Caribbean, C-GCH partnered with the University of the West Indies (UWI), Ministries of Health, hospitals and institutions from six Caribbean countries: The Bahamas, Barbados, Jamaica, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Trinidad and Tobago, to form the SickKids-Caribbean Initiative (SCI).

SCI, launched in 2013, focuses on building sustainable capacity in six areas: clinical care, diagnostic services, local oncology databases, nursing education, sickle cell disease and research, scholarly activities and advocacy. Each focus area is supported by a multidisciplinary group of expert members including nurses, physicians, data managers and project managers from SickKids and partnering Caribbean countries.

Over the past four years, SCI has made significant strides in improving access to services for children in the Caribbean with cancer and blood disorders; increasing capacity for Caribbean partners to provide timely, accurate diagnosis and high-quality follow up care; strengthening infrastructure that enhances capacity to care for children with cancer and blood disorders; creating indirect benefits for other users of health systems in the region; and stimulating robust knowledge exchange and new regional and global linkages, fostering a sustainable community of practice in the region.

Meet some of the members of the SCI team at SickKids who are partnering for better care of children living with cancer and blood disorders in the Caribbean.


Photo of SCI team at SickKids
Some of the members of the SCI team at SickKids: (left to right) Margaret Manley and Devon Williams (project management team), Dr. Victor Blanchette (Co-Chair, SCI) (back right) Bonnie Fleming-Carroll (Co-Chair of the SCI Nursing Working Group and SCI Executive Committee Member), Pam Hubley (SCI Steering Committee Member), Dr. Avram Denburg (SCI oncology and policy consultant) (front right) Dr. Melanie Kirby-Allen (SCI haematology consultant), Ebrahim Sayeh (SCI laboratory medicine consultant), Brian Smith and Stephanie de Young (project management team).
Photo of SCI Co-Chairs
Co-Chairs of the SCI: Drs. Upton Allen and Victor Blanchette

“SCI has been successful in creating a strong community of practice across the six Caribbean partner countries, as this relates to cancers and serious blood disorders in children. As SCI moves forward to explore opportunities for sustainability, we will continue to actively study how best to engage other countries within the broader Commonwealth Caribbean and the West Indies,” says Dr. Upton Allen, Bastable-Potts Chair in Infectious Diseases Research, SCI Co-Chair.

“This collaboration has already surpassed all of our expectations thanks to the support from our amazing donors and committed partners in the Caribbean and Canada. The way forward, focused on children with cancer and blood disorders and their families living in the Caribbean is incredibly bright,” says Dr. Victor Blanchette, McCaig Magee Family Medical Director, SCI Co-Chair. 

“Canada is positioned well to advocate for a shift in global health to focus more on capacity building. Equipping countries with the tools and knowledge to be self-sufficient is the key to sustainable efforts. As a result of globalization, we are more connected now than ever before. We are all neighbours and have a responsibility to look out for and protect one another,” says Devon Williams, a Project Coordinator for the SCI project at C-GCH.

“I hope that Canadians continue to see that the future well-being of the world is dependent on the physical, mental, ethical, and spiritual health and development of all children, no matter where they are born and no matter where they live,” says Margaret Manley, a Senior Manager at C-GCH.

“Canadian students and youth should care about Global Child Health because the world becomes more globalized every day. Helping to improve the lives of children everywhere will benefit us all and have a lasting impact in the community,” says Lena Du, an Administrative Coordinator for the SCI project at C-GCH.

"The students in the SickKids-Caribbean Initiative's Paediatric Haematology/Oncology Nursing Program are on the path to making real changes and improvements to the care of children with cancer in the Caribbean," says Heather Fleming, Paediatric Oncology RN and Nurse Educator for the SCI project at C-GCH. 

Learn more about the SickKids-Caribbean Initiative:

Read the SCI 2016-17 Annual Progress Report

‘Setting the stage for improving childhood cancer outcomes: the Sickkids-Caribbean Initiative’ – The Lancet Global Health

‘SickKids-Caribbean Initiative launches the first paediatric haematology/oncology nursing education program in Trinidad & Tobago’ –  SickKids News