Oncologic and infectious diseases have a high incidence in the world population. Statistic reports from the World Health Organization indicate that cancer is the second leading cause of death worldwide and was responsible for an estimated 10 million deaths in 2020. Early diagnosis of cancer generally increases the chances for successful treatment by focusing on detecting symptomatic patients as early as possible. Delays in accessing cancer care are common with late-stage presentation, particularly in lower resource settings and vulnerable populations. The consequences of delayed or inaccessible cancer care lower the likelihood of survival, have greater morbidity and higher costs of care, resulting in avoidable deaths and disability from cancer. Early diagnosis improves cancer outcomes by providing care at the earliest possible stage and is therefore an important public health strategy in all settings.
Among infectious diseases, the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) is one of the most predominant worldwide. There were approximately 38 million people across the globe with HIV in 2019. New technologies and drugs for early diagnosis, continuous monitoring and treatment of HIV infection have improved the prognosis of infection and the quality of life among individuals living with HIV. In low income areas, a lack of resources, whether infrastructural, financial or human, hampers access to care for the resident populace. This results in delayed treatment, poor patient follow-up and poor adherence to treatment, all of which contribute to the high rate of transmission and mortality.
JCWO leads the Molecular Diagnostics (MD) program that provides a free of cost, early and specific diagnostic for the control and survival of patients that are affected by various types of cancer, mainly leukemia and solid tumors, as well as infectious diseases like HIV, in poor developing countries. This program targets children and adults of all ages and genders in poverty and extreme poverty. Today, the MD program is carried out in Venezuela to benefit its highly vulnerable population.
The MD program improves the quality of life of patients, their prognosis and response to treatment, and increases their survival rate due to the early detection, the stratification of the disease risk and the possibility of determining the best possible treatment option for the specific diagnosis. Moreover, the program benefits the families of patients by relieving them from the economic burden and psychological stress that comes with the disease.