Overview & History
The Children’s Cancer Hospital Egypt 57357 (CCHE) widely known as Hospital 57357 is a unique healthcare institution and an ultimate example of what can be achieved when people work together for a common goal. The people of Egypt and friends from all over the world and most particularly in the Arab World have contributed generously to the establishment of the hospital which has been completely built by donations. Egyptians from all walks of life rallied around the setting up of a state of the art pediatric oncology hospital to achieve the dream of a better tomorrow for their children with cancer.
Inspired by the model of the St. Jude Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee in the U.S, the Children’s Cancer Hospital Egypt 57357 (CCHE 57357) is the largest Hospital in the world in terms of capacity (320 beds). It was established in 2007 with the mission of providing the best comprehensive family centered quality care and a chance for cure to all children with cancer seeking its services, free of charge and without discrimination.
Initially, since the inception of the 57357 Project, the focus was on how to provide the best comprehensive quality care and an opportunity for cure. Hence, the Hospital is constantly offering its patients a wide range of the most updated diagnostics and treatment services including chemotherapy, radiotherapy, surgery, bone marrow transplant, multi-disciplinary clinics, physical rehabilitation, socio-psychological care, palliative care, survivorship care and in-house schooling.
Since its inception, CCHE administrators and top management realized that carrying out research in medical and non-medical areas of Hospital operations was a pre-requisite to progress in achieving cure and a better future for our children with cancer. Hence the adoption of the most advanced health informatics system by Cerner which enabled the complete digitalization of Hospital operations, its acquisition of a strong data base, and its transformation into a paperless Hospital.
Not only is this project attempting to increase the childhood cancer survival rate in Egypt from less than an estimated 40% to the Western rates of 75-80% overall survival, it is also attempting to create a new system of healthcare where management and treatment utilize the most scientific approaches practiced today. Presently, after 11years of operations the Hospital is recording a 73% average over-all survival. It has become not merely a hospital but a leading example for healthcare, a change agent and a comprehensive institution for fighting childhood cancer.
One day the pediatric oncology physician, responsible for the children’s ward, at Egypt’s National Cancer Institute (NCI), Dr. Sherif Abouel Naga, witnessed the passing away of 13 young children out of 16 in the ward. This was in the early 80’s; when the survival rate for cancer in North America was around 65-70% and physicians and scientists were beginning to believe that cancer in children could be conquered.
In Egypt, after years of war and poverty, the economy was beginning to flourish, communicable diseases were coming under control due to the increased availability of medicine and medical supplies and consequently the medical community started to concentrate its efforts on life threatening diseases such as cancer. It was at this time during the late 70’s that the specialty of pediatric oncology was established in Egypt at the National Cancer Institute.
Devastated by what was happening to their young children, with cancer, the group of pediatric oncology physicians at the NCI, headed by Dr. Abouel Naga, vowed before Allah, that they would change the precarious conditions of their single pediatric oncology ward . At that time, they lacked the resources, the up-to date methods and equipment and the adequate safe environment that would enable them to overcome this hopelessness and would achieve the results of the West for Egypt’s children with cancer.
First, they thought of soliciting support from religious leadership. They managed to meet with well –known and much loved Sheikh el Sharawy, who incidentally was in the company of Mr. Abdullah Sallam, founder of Olympic Electric, Mr. Abou Shakra, owner of a restaurant chain, and Mr. Ahmed Abdul Tayma, former Minister of Religious Affairs and one of the original group of the 1952 Revolutionary Council. Each one of them pledged 50 LE each per month to provide monetary support for the development of a sound pediatric oncology care program at the NCI. Although all members of the group are now deceased, their families have carried on the commitment believing in the value of the endeavor.
Over the next 10 years, compassionate and generous donors who believed that change was necessary, helped these physicians to create a flourishing pediatric oncology program that went from a 1 room ward of 8 beds and a tiny outpatient clinic to a 120 bed department and a modern outpatient clinic that saw 150 patients a day and received 1200 new cases yearly.
Innovations such as the first Clinical Pharmacy in Egypt, the first coordinated volunteer blood donor program were initiated at the NCI. Virology, microbiology, and cytogenetics labs were funded for the pediatric oncology program to provide an improved diagnostic service. The improved services and expertise improved survival rates causing the demand to become greater and the allocated space for the children population at the NCI to become over crowded.
As physicians and families began to see hope of cure, they began to press for improved conditions and the physicians continued to work towards their dreams of achieving a high standard of care and facilities for their patients. Media personalities, Amal Fahmy and Tarek Allam, joined in the cause and were avid spokespersons for the program to explain the need to the public and help them realize the issues surrounding cancer. A group of businessmen offered to give 250,000 LE to help in some way but were convinced to use this money to conduct the first national fundraising campaign. It was so successful that it raised public awareness of the conditions facing these patients and prompted the government to establish 10 regional cancer centers.
It was at this time, with the physicians striving for continuous improvement; that the seed of the idea of a state of the art hospital for children with cancer took root. Professor Dr. Mohamed Reda Hamza, Dean of the National Cancer Institute in 1995 sought for space to expand the existing NCI for children but finally encouraged Dr. Sherif Abouel Naga to consider building a separate hospital for children with cancer that would be instrumental in catering to the rising needs of the children with cancer and in improving their survival rates for children. Four women who were well known in the Egyptian community for their good works were eager to collaborate with Dr. Abouel Naga to spearhead the drive to build the hospital. Former Secretary General of the 57357 Foundation and co-founder of the Hospital, the late Mrs. Ola Ghabbour, Mrs. Sohair Farghaly, Mrs. Fakreya Abdel Hamid and Mrs Somaya Abouelenein along with businessman Eng. Hossam El Kabbani met with Dr. Mofid Shehab, then President of Cairo University and gained approval to begin the process of building a children’s cancer hospital.
This hospital would be built by donation and would be available for all children with cancer regardless of creed, race or ability to pay and so the process began. The group raised 8 Million LE in seed money from pledges of prominent businessmen and citizens to start the project.
Dr. Ahmed Fathy Sorour, Speaker of Parliament was approached to assist in the process of obtaining land nearby the NCI.
- 260 beds and a 60 bed in-patient branch in Tanta, a Governorate in Egypt’s Delta region, around 90 km from Cairo.
- A design that facilitates family centered care
- Specialized clinical pharmacy offering a wide scope of services including: clinical rounds, outpatient services, drug dispensing and compounding, intravenous drug admixture, pain and personalized medication management, nutritional support services, patient education and palliative care services.
- Intensive Care and Bone Marrow Transplant units.
- A comprehensive surgery department able to conduct complicated tumor surgery such as neuro, micro, and ophthalmic surgery thanks to latest equipment such as surgical microscope (Leica OH5) and the latest version of intra-operative MRI
- The radiology is equipped with two latest technology CT scans that minimize radiation exposure, ensuring fine resolution pictures and quicker service delivery. Two latest technology MRI machines enable larger coverage and more precise diagnosis. All ultra-sound equipment enable the fusion of ultra sound results with the corresponding CT and MRI imagery for better diagnostic results. The latest PACS (Picture and Archiving Communication Systems) technology provides economical storage of and convenient access to images from multiple modalities.
- The latest linear accelerators Versa HD machines with (VMAT) technology (Volumetric Modulated Arc Therapy, the first of its kind in Egypt.
- State of the art diagnostics and laboratory support: CT, MRI, 2 PET/CT scans (usage of radio active material F18-FET specifically effective for dbrain tumor detection), nuclear medicine, cytogenetics laboratory, virology, cord blood storage and stem cell collection and storage.
- A Blood Donation bank and clinic equipped with the latest machines to separate blood components and ensure a safe and constant supply of blood
- Play areas throughout the hospital departments to ease the stress of waiting for children.
- Designed to meet the most rigid requirements for infection control, the highest standards for environmental issues such as waste and water management and energy consumption.
- First clinical nutrition department in Egypt
- An international standard bio-bank in Egypt for collection, process, storage of bio-specimens.
- A completely digitalized and almost paperless Hospital
- A large outpatient capacity, able to accommodate 400 patients per day.
- Multi specialty clinics such as pain, cardiology, dental and ophthalmology.
- The first specialized department of psychology, social work and psychiatry in Egypt for pediatric oncology patients.
- The first child life program and in-hospital school in Egypt for hospitalized children.
- The first comprehensive physiotherapy department for oncology patients in Egypt including hydro-therapy, electrotherapy, and latest work out equipment.
- Art therapy space.
Planning for the hospital began in 1998 with the formal creation of the Association of Friends of the National Cancer Institute (AFNCI) whose mandate back then was to improve the lives of cancer patients at the National Cancer Institute through facility development, upgrade and training. The Association, which had initially and informally brought together a number of NCI’s pediatric oncologists headed by Dr. Sherif Abouel Naga with Society’s renowned businessmen and charitable women, was instrumental in considerably improving the outcome of children with cancer at the National Cancer Institute.
The seed of the idea of a state of the art Hospital for children with cancer took root when late Professor Dr. Reda Hamza Dean of the National Cancer Institute in 1995 advised that a separate hospital would be ideal for further improving their survival rates. AFNCI was responsible for tendering and implementation of design, construction, electro mechanical, interiors, equipping, health management and fundraising for the entire CCHE project. In 2004, the Children’s Cancer Hospital Foundation 57357 was formed to take the hospital into the next phase of start-up and operation.
The Children’s Cancer Hospital Foundation 57357CCHF (reg.Jan.2004) is a legal independent non-profit organization whose vision is “to be the unique worldwide icon of change towards a cancer-free childhood.” The CCHF mandate is to oversee the strategic direction and financial support for Hospital 57357 in collaboration with Hospital 57357 Executive, ensuring its financial sustainability, its place as a center of excellence in care, research and expertise as well as its future program and facility expansions
Two other fundraising entities, Egypt Cancer Network (ECN), U.S. and ECN Canada are also supporting Hospital 57357 abroad. . Realizing that rising competition within a fast growing charities’ sector threatened the amount of funds it would be able to collect locally over the years, the CCHE administration worked to establish first an affiliate fundraising entity in the U.S. which became formally registered in June 2011. Since then, it was only logical to establish a similar one in Canada.
The present institutional structure is binding together all 57357 affiliates: Hospital, Foundation, AFNCI, and ECN into the 57357 working Group. Hospital management is carried out through a board of trustees, an executive committee, and a 57357 Working Group Board.
The present restructured 57357 boards realized that the sustainability of 57357 as a leading pediatric oncology center that is preventing and combatting Cancer rested mainly on its commitment first to Research, then Smart education and in third place to quality healthcare. Hence the present mission of the 57357 institution reflects the shifting of emphasis on research and smart education as the two main steering wheels for development and progress.
In doing so, they are in no way modifying the core of the mission we pledge to always fulfill or our raison d’etre which is the provision of quality healthcare with passion and justice to alleviate the suffering of children with cancer and their families free of charge.
The mandate of the 57357 group is twofold. On one hand, they seek to realize the capacity and program expansion of 57357 from a pediatric oncology healthcare center to a Health Sciences Complex. On the other hand, the 57357 Institution is committed to taking a preponderant role in cancer awareness and prevention.