Republic of Korea Champions PACT and the Fight Against Cancer

Public goodwill and donations grow apace

2 October 2008

The 52nd Annual General Conference of the IAEA started on a bright note for the Programme of Action for Cancer Therapy (PACT), with a $20,000 donation from the Republic of Korea, through its Korea Nuclear International Cooperation Foundation (KONICOF). Presenting the cheque in a special ceremony held on the first day of the General Conference, Vice Minister of Education, Science and Technology, Mr. Jong Koo Park said: “This donation represents the determination of our people to help cancer patients in developing countries who do not have access to the kind of cancer care and facilities available in Korea.”

The Republic of Korea is one of PACT's most enthusiastic and innovative supporters. In July 2007, KONICOF launched a nation-wide campaign aimed at raising public donations for PACT's activities. Attractive collection boxes were distributed in nuclear-related institutions and companies around the country, while individuals were encouraged to donate a regular one dollar per month to this worthy cause.

To date more than 500 people have committed to making the monthly contributions and a number of companies have weighed in with larger amounts. Donors come from all sections of society. KONICOF reports that many of those making the monthly donations are themselves cancer patients, while others, such as the staff at the Cyclotron Research Center (CRC), have raised substantial amounts in their own collection campaigns. The staff of KONICOF itself has donated professional fees received for the publication of papers and related activities to support PACT.

Accepting the cheque on behalf of PACT, Werner Burkart, IAEA Deputy Director General for Nuclear Applications and Sciences, pointed out that development in low-income countries is resulting in extended life expectancy and, at the same time, greater exposure to lifestyle factors that increase the risk of cancer. This is leading to an increase in cancer incidence. “We must work with these countries now to fight the threatening cancer epidemic,” he said. “In its support of PACT, Korea has taken a leading role. We hope that other Member States consider following Korea's very important example.”