Inaugural Meeting of PACT Partners, 27 – 28 April 2006

15 May 2006

On 27 and 28 April 2006 the Programme for Action for Cancer Therapy (PACT) hosted a meeting of all international organizations that are taking action against the growing threat of cancer worldwide.

Opened by the Director General of the IAEA, Mohammed ElBaradai, the meeting brought together, for the first time, all the organizations capable of providing comprehensive cancer control in the developing world.

Attending the meeting were representatives from the World Health Organization (WHO) headquarters as well as WHO regional representatives from Africa, Eastern Mediterranean, Europe, South East Asia and the WHO's International Agency for Research on Cancer. Present too were the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC), International Network for Cancer Treatment and Research, the Open Society Institute, the US National Cancer Institute, C–Change, Oxford University Institute of Cancer Medicine, the American Cancer Society and the World Bank.

In an atmosphere of unprecedented co–operation, the meeting formalized acommon commitment to cancer care capacity building at the global, regional and country levels. “Only through interagency collaboration can developing nations have the assistance needed to provide a better chance of survival for current patients and prevent future victims of cancer” said Dr ElBaradei.

The importance of placing cancer, the second leading cause of death worldwide, on the global health agenda, united the participants in calling for co–ordinated action on developing multi–disciplinary regional training networks in all of the six regions of WHO, and collaboration on interagency awareness and advocacy building.

The significance of the meeting was underlined by the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the WHO's Eastern Mediterranean region (EMRO) and PACT, formalising the relationship between the two organizations and supporting the advancement of cancer prevention and treatment in the region. The National Cancer Institute (NCI) also pledged resources in kind, including a number of experts for use in model demonstration projects and for research into the socio–economic effects of cancer in different regions across the globe.

This emerging alliance of partners will meet again at the World Cancer Congress in July in Washington DC to discuss specific implementation frameworks and fundraising strategies.