HKS Speakers Program - Pediatric Oncology

As part of the “Speakers Program,” the Harvard Club of Serbia had the honor of hosting distinguished global and local experts in the field of pediatric oncology, representatives from parents’ associations for children with cancer, pharmaceutical and medical equipment companies, as well as friends and members of the Club.

The opening remarks were given by Harvard College alumna Dr. Leslie Lehmann, Medical Director at Boston Children’s Hospital, and Irini Albanti, Director of the Global Health Initiative at Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center, one of the hospitals where Harvard University conducts its teachings.

The discussion also involved specialist doctors from the Institute for Mother and Child Health Care of Serbia, the Institute of Oncology and Radiology of Serbia, and the University Clinic Tiršova, namely Dr. Dragan Mićić, Dr. Lejla Paripović, Dr. Ana Jovićević, and Dr. Dragana Janić, along with Vladica Rakić, Regional Financial Director of Roche.

The participants agreed that the cornerstone of the entire healthcare system is the expertise and dedication of medical staff. On the other hand, it was emphasized that there is significant room for improvement in the management of the healthcare system and institutions, as well as in the adequate planning of drug procurement and necessary medical supplies. It was mentioned that, among the countries in the region, when comparing healthcare spending relative to the gross domestic product, Serbia ranks at the top.

Moreover, it was stated that Serbia is in the middle of the list concerning cancer incidence among European countries, but it ranks second in terms of cancer-related mortality, just behind Hungary. At the same time, the need to introduce more advanced therapies, currently unavailable to beneficiaries of healthcare services in Serbia, was highlighted.

Special attention was drawn to the fact that primary research aimed at identifying inefficiencies in managing the healthcare system and its components is rare, and there is almost no organized systematic monitoring of statistical data in pediatric oncology. This significantly reduces the possibility of identifying systemic inefficiencies and making changes to increase the effectiveness of treating children with cancer.

Together with representatives from parents’ associations for children with cancer, “Zvončica” and “NURDOR,” members and friends of the Harvard Club of Serbia agreed to continue their contacts. They also pledged to raise awareness about the problem and its causes, with the aim of influencing a prompt adaptation of healthcare policy in Serbia based on established facts and actual needs.

In this regard, all donors willing to initiate projects in this field in collaboration with relevant healthcare institutions are invited to contribute to reducing the mortality of children with cancer.

Latest posts