Cost and quality issues in establishing hematopoietic cell transplant program in developing countries

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The hematopoietic cell transplant (HCT) activity has grown significantly over the past two decades in both developing and developed countries. Many challenges arise in establishing new HCT programs in developing countries, due to scarcity of resources and manpower in expertise in HCT. While cost issues can potentially hinder establishment of new HCT programs in certain regions, the focus on quality and value should be included in the general vision of leadership before establishing an HCT program. The main challenge in most developing countries is the lack of trained/qualified personnel, enormous start-up costs for a tertiary care center, and quality maintenance. Herein, we discuss the main challenges from a cost and quality perspective which occur at initiation of a new HCT program. We give real world examples of two developing countries that have recently started new HCT programs despite significant financial constraints. We also portray recommendations from the Worldwide Network of Blood and Marrow Transplantation for levels of requirements for a new HCT program. We hope that this review will serve as a general guide for new transplant program leadership with respect to the concerns of balancing high quality with concurrently lowering costs.


Hematology/oncology and stem cell therapy.