Launched in February 2014, Focus Medical Centre is the Pediatric Oncologic Hematology and Rheumatology Compartment within Constanta County Hospital, the only unit of its kind in the South-East of Romania. Focus Medical Center specializes in the diagnosis, treatment and monitoring of children suffering from cancer, as well as in providing support to their families.
“The children feel safe when they are met by familiar faces every time they come to the center and they trust us, despite the heavy and consuming treatments they go through. There is a bond between us, and this is how I believe things should go in any relationship that brings doctors and patients together.”— Dr. Adriana Apostol, Center Coordinator.
Why we are doing this
- In Romania, the survival rate of children diagnosed with cancer is below 50%, as against the 80% rate for Europe.
- Constanta is the county where the number of children diagnosed with cancer exceeds the country average.
- There is no specialized center in the South-East region of Romania although any child who has received a cancer diagnosis must be monitored monthly, for five years.
- Children suffering from oncologic conditions used to be exposed to other health issues due to their having a low immunity and being forced to share the same pediatrics ward with other patients suffering from viral conditions. Also, access to medical examinations and treatment used to be difficult.
What we have achieved
- We have built an outpatient unit servicing children diagnosed with onco-hematological and rheumatologic conditions from Constanta, as well as from Tulcea, Galati, Braila, and Calarasi counties.
- The children are under the care of specialized and dedicated medical personnel. Blood tests are drawn here and sent over to the hospital lab for processing. In this way, there is a lower risk for patients to be affected by viral conditions the hospital patients might suffer from.
- The Center operates within the Pediatrics Unit of Constanta Clinical Emergency Hospital and it includes doctor offices (oncologist, psychologist, and a rheumatologist), a blood-sampling room, a nurse dedicated room, treatment rooms, a training hall, a play room, a reception and a waiting room.
The Center offers
- Early diagnosis – parents get easier access to early diagnosis, which increases the chances of healing or of disease-free survival.
- Home care – mostly available to terminal patients.
- High-quality medical services and access to the most recent and innovative treatments.
- Psychological comfort of the child and of his/her family through the option of receiving treatment close to home, under the guidance of the attending doctor, thereby reducing the length of stay in Bucharest by several months. The children receive adequate care during the day and they go home to their families in the evening.
- Play area for the children, as well as emotional support, information and psychological counseling for their families.
- Events for children suffering from various conditions and for their families.
- Medical meetings, training sessions and conferences for the doctors and nurses visiting from abroad.
How the project is implemented
- The Center was developed upon the initiative and with the professional contribution of Adriana Apostol, board-certified pediatrician, the only medical doctor with a supra-specialization in pediatric oncology in Constanța.
- With the help of the business community in Constanta, donations of 180, 000 Euro have been raised to cover the cost of a full development and equipping of the premises. “Dăruiește Aripi” also organized other fundraising sessions to support the Center’s activity with resources that had not been made available by the hospital.
- FOCUS Medical Center was opened in February 2014 and it now services more than 400 children suffering from onco-hematological and rheumatologic conditions.
- Beginning with 2018, a homecare program involving the Center nurses was also developed for children suffering from serious chronic conditions, onco-hematological conditions or rare diseases and who live in precarious rural communities of the Dobrogea area. The next step is for this pilot program to develop into an example to be applied at national level so that all pediatric patients suffering from these conditions get access to this type of support.
- An increase in the number of patients having undergone oncologic screening, therefore leading to an early diagnosis of cancer in children, and higher chances of survival and healing. Also, this project aims to provide a higher quality medical service, to increase the psychological comfort of and to support the patients and their families.