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Supporting families of children with cancer in Mexico

Active Since: 2015

Contributing to SDGs…

The AbbVie Foundation partners with Direct Relief to support Casa de la Amistad (CDLA), which provides support services for underserved families of children with cancer in Mexico.



  • Global NGOs

    Direct Relief


Support access to pediatric cancer care in targeted underserved communities in Mexico, leading to increased treatment adherence and decreased mortality.

In underserved areas of Mexico, where families are making less than $5 per day, access to health care is limited by lack of access to the non-medical resources needed to consistently reach services, including transportation and housing.  Inability to access the necessary health resources results in high mortality rates among children with cancer in these areas.

Data from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) suggests that cancer affecting children between the ages of 4-15 years represents the leading cause of mortality at over 20% of total deaths. While cancer treatment is provided by Mexico’s national health system, indirect costs and other barriers to treatment severely limit service access. People living in resource-poor areas in southern Mexico have the greatest survival challenges due to lack of transportation and lodging, language barriers, and limited or delayed diagnostic capacity. Patients from rural Mexico rarely have the resources to afford care in Mexico City, which in turn often results in a negative patient outcome. The remote state of Chiapas, considered the poorest region of Mexico with a large indigenous population, has among the country’s highest frequency and incidence rate for numerous types of cancer that include lymphoma, retinoblastoma, and CNS tumors.

Casa de la Amistad (CDLA), with support from Direct Relief, provides a range of social services to underserved children with cancer and their families. Families referred by collaborating hospitals across the country are provided meals, lodging and transportation services that help them access care. The ability for families to reach these essential services and to stay close to their child during treatment helps to prevent treatment abandonment and failure, which in turn helps to improve survival rates.


SDG 3: Good Health and Wellbeing

  1. 3.4: NCDs (including mental health)

SDG 9: Industry Innovation and Infrastructure

SDG 17: Partnerships for the Goals 


With support from the AbbVie Foundation, Direct Relief and CDLA have served over 1,000 people in Mexico. In many cases, waiting lists for services have been eliminated.

Data from the first three years of the partnership show that the program has supported high rates of adherence to treatment. Children served by CDLA exhibit an abandonment rate of 2%, well below the national average of 6.2%. Further, CDLA children had a mortality rate almost 50% lower than the national average.