Continuing education in pediatric hematology and oncology is essential for all specialists involved in the cancer treatment of children around the world. However, access to this training may be unequal depending on the country in which they are located, especially if, as was the case until recently, it involves attendance at conferences or face-to-face courses.
In this regard, the development of online training has allowed continuing education to be transferred to platforms such as TELEO (Tele-education in Pediatric Oncology), which was created with the aim of supporting and strengthening local training programs for specialists in Latin America, and even providing such training in medium- or low-income countries where access to this training has not been possible until now.
The TELEO program benefits from the medical direction of doctors Guillermo Chantada, Ofelia Cruz and Andrés Morales La Madrid, leading specialists in the Oncology Area of SJD Barcelona Children's Hospital.
TELEO's initial activities include a course based on content developed by the Latin American Society of Pediatric Oncology (SLAOP) as part of its “Course supporting educational programs in Pediatric Hemato-Oncology”. The training course has a duration of two years, is taught in Spanish and Portuguese using a distance-learning methodology and is free for participants. The content is of a high academic level and tailored to the context and needs of the global south.
In addition, TELEO has also launched a discussion forum on pediatric nursing, a forum that has taken up the baton of the conferences and courses held in 2018 and 2020 and that fosters the exchange of nursing knowledge on this subject.
The essential role of foundations in carrying out the project
The TELEO program was created with the support of the Sanofi Espoir Foundation, with the aim of promoting continuing education in pediatric oncology in centers in Latin America. The program, created in 2015 by SJD Barcelona Children's Hospital with the sponsorship of the Leo Messi Foundation, initially combined face-to-face events with virtual resources for continuing education on various topics in pediatric oncology and its related specialties, and gave particular support to pediatric nursing.
Hospital Garrahan in Buenos Aires participated in the initial program and in its first four years it brought together more than 100 professionals who traveled to Barcelona or from Barcelona to Argentina for scientific meetings combined with training stays.
In 2019, the Natalí Dafne Flexer Foundation obtained a My Child Matters grant from the Sanofi Espoir Foundation to extend the program to other Latin American countries, for which it had to be transformed into a completely virtual program in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. To ensure effective access to the content throughout the region, the collaboration with SLAOP was established.
Thus, in 2021, TELEO was created as a virtual platform for the continuing education program in pediatric oncology, promoted by SJD Barcelona Children's Hospital and its outreach program, the International Pediatric Forum, and the Leo Messi Foundation, with the support of the Sanofi-Espoir Foundation and the Natalí Dafne Flexer Foundation.