Pediatric Rheumatology is a young but rapidly growing specialty in South America. It is well established in several countries: there are about 180 pediatric rheumatologists (PRs) working full- or part-time in the field, usually based in large, tertiary hospitals. This workforce capacity allows a patient-to-PR ratIo close to 2,800:1. There are several dedicated academic programs currently running in major cities and opportunities for training in the specialty have grown considerably in the last few years: more than 10 academic programs are currently active in 5 countries Pediatric Rheumatology is a board-recognized specialty in at least 2 countries of the region. However, PRs tend to concentrate in the big cities, leaving the distant areas of this widespread continent underserved. In these provincial settings general rheumatologists and pediatricians usually provide patient care for rheumatic children. Development of the specialty is not equal in the different countries of this multicultural region, and there is a clear need for manpower training in a large proportion of the subcontinent. Many challenges remain: well designed and structured international databases and community-based, epidemiological studies are lacking; improvement of the workforce capacity, including role expansion of health care providers in hospitals and in the community is needed; consensus-based design of common educational programs for pediatricians and PRs and clinical guidelines may reduce disparities in patient management; improvement in the accessibility to patient care and provision of modern technology (including biologicals) is another urgent need in South America. Raising pediatric rheumatic disease awareness among the general population, physicians and policy makers may improve referral behavior, reduce misdiagnosis and delay in referral, improper management, and eventually lead to better disease outcomes.
Disclosure of Interest None Declared
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