A child in Kenya develops a lump on his face. His mother wants to know what it is. Is it cancer? Can it be cured? Pathology has the answers. Accurate pathological diagnosis is key to quality cancer care. Pathologic diagnosis is also an essential tool in screening and disease prevention programs that contribute to the overall health of communities. This project will train anatomic pathologists in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) in current best practices for processing, diagnosing and reporting cancers.
Many Africans have little or no access to pathology services. In cancer, varying standards of training and scarcity of a skilled workforce have resulted in ineffective treatment due to delayed or inaccurate diagnoses. This has also led to erroneous estimates of disease rates. This results in diminished ability of health care systems to plan resource allocation, which in turn results in poorer clinical outcomes.
Pathology plays a critical role in guiding clinical decisions about patient diagnosis and treatment. By developing and disseminating a training program that covers best current practice for processing, diagnosing and reporting common cancers, this project will improve the ability of the anatomic pathology workforce in SSA to detect and diagnose cancer.
Our organization has conducted research exploring the effectiveness of various training models. The research has proven that this training program often leads to overall improvements within pathology departments, not just in cancer diagnosis. Thus, the project will contribute to general improvement of anatomical pathology laboratories in the participating institutions. This higher performing local pathology workforce will, in addition, be able to assess and train other pathologists in SSA.