Year Established: 2011

Fields of work Paediatrics
UK Partner University College Hospitals London
Developing Country Partner Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University
Contact Bangladesh Child Cancer Project

The Paediatric Haematology & Oncology Department of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU) is a specialised centre in Bangladesh for the treatment of childhood cancer.  It also provides rotational training to young paediatricians in childhood cancer treatment at the local level. The unit works with 8 satellite centres across Bangladesh.  Survival rates for children diagnosed with cancer at the BSMMU are 20% and at the satellite centres the rates are less than 15%.

University College London Hospital (UCLH) is an NHS Foundation Trust with a specialist children’s and young people’s cancer unit. The unit has survival rates of approximately 80%.

World Child Cancer is a charity which specialises in creating international health links to improve childhood cancer diagnosis, treatment and care in low and middle income countries. The charity was created in 2007 and is working in 15 countries. In 2012 our work helped 1,755 children through focusing on the transfer of expertise and skills through twinning partnerships between hospitals.

World Child Cancer has formed a health link between BSMMU and UCLH to create a transfer of specialist medical expertise and skills between healthcare professionals in Bangladesh and the UK to increase survival rates for children with cancer in Bangladesh. The link is being facilitated by Professor Eden from World Child Cancer using his extensive network of contacts and his experience of developing international health links.

The Medium PIP grant will be used to fund aspects of the project over a two year period.

The key problems affecting childhood cancer in Bangladesh are:

  • Lack of accurate data on the problem of child cancer;
  • Low awareness of the signs and symptoms of child cancer and its curability amongst parents and primary healthcare professionals;
  • Late diagnosis or non-diagnosis due to low awareness;
  • Low survival rates for diagnosed children;
  • Abandonment of treatment due to a number of factors but often associated with families inability to afford the drugs for treatment.

The project objectives are to improve diagnosis, treatment and care for children with cancer in Bangladesh as well as building capacity in cancer treatment at the BSMMU and 8 satellite centres.   The funding from THET will be used for training for healthcare professionals and the development of a data registry.  This is a distinct element of a five year project which will also provide funding for drugs to reduce abandonment of treatment and an awareness campaign to promote earlier diagnosis.

The aims of the project are to:

  1. To increase survival rates of children diagnosed with cancer at the BSMMU and 8 satellite centres.
  2. To increase access to treatment at all centres.
  3. To improve recognition of child cancer and earlier diagnosis amongst doctors and nurses across Bangladesh.
  4. To improve care and treatment of children.
  5. To build capacity within the local healthcare infrastructure by developing the expertise of the specialist child cancer centre at the           BSMMU in Dhaka.
  6. To develop a network of 8 satellite child cancer centres – 3 in Dhaka and one each in Sylhet, Chittagong, Rajshahi, Barrishal and           Rangpure.
  7. To develop sustainability by identifying long-term, local funding partners.


The main activities will be:

  1. Establishment of a child cancer registry to record all cases and treatment plans including the training of local database management staff.
  2. Development of locally appropriate treatment protocols.
  3. Provision of training for doctors at the BSMMU and the 8 satellite treatment centres in the diagnosis and treatment of children with cancer.  The initial focus will be on disease recognition and speeding up diagnosis.
  4. Provision of training for nurses at the BSMMU and the 8 satellite centres in the care and treatment of children with cancer.
  5. Provision of mentoring for the project leader by doctors from the twinning partners.
  6. Develop a national child cancer care policy plan.

Contact Details

Liz Burns
Operations Manager, World Child Cancer

World Child Cancer

17 Rudolf Place, London, SW8 1RP

United Kingdom

Tel: 020 3176 4492










Prof Afiqul Islam
Chair, Department of Paediatric Haematology and Oncology

Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University
Block D, Room 301
Shahabag Dhaka 1000

Tel: +88 02 8626165