NASW Delegation to Egypt, Part 2

Oct 22, 2009

Elizabeth J. Clark, PhD, ACSW, MPH

As part of our delegation trip to Cairo, we visited the Children’s Cancer Center which opened in 2007. It is a state-of-the-art center that is a flagship facility for the Middle East. It has 182 inpatient beds, 10 ICU beds, 22 outpatient clinics, and 82 physicians on staff. It is modeled after St. Jude’s Hospital in the US, and any children with cancer are treated for free.

The most frequent childhood cancers are brain tumors and leukemia. Only 40% of children survive cancer in Egypt. This is about half of the survival rate in the USA. They hope to improve this number with outstanding health care.

They began fundraising for the hospital in 2000. As part of their fundraising campaign, they named the project after their bank account number, and the hospital is now known as 57357. They started with $14 million pounds. Most of the funds raised were small donations from people who made charitable contributions during Ramadan. School children also helped raise funds.

The Center’s psychosocial care is headed by a psychiatrist and includes social workers (8 of them), psychologists, and child life therapists. Social workers there make about $300 per month. The Cancer Center noted that they were quite surprised that our delegation wanted to visit. They told us that they would welcome assistance with training for psychosocial oncology. One of our delegates, Floyd Allen from CancerCare in NYC, will be a great contact for them.