Nigeria and IAEA-PACT join to fight cancer

Nigeria's First Lady calls for donor action in unequal cancer funding

19 September 2009

PACT is joining forces with Nigeria to help fight Africa's growing cancer crisis. An agreement signed in September will focus on developing comprehensive cancer control strategies and action plans tailored to address the needs and conditions of the people of Nigeria and beyond.

The situation is urgent. Recent statistics show that by 2020 Africa will have more than one million new cancer cases a year. Yet in many African countries, resources are limited and health systems are ill-equipped to cope with the growing burden. Currently only 0.3 percent of the world's cancer-related expenditure goes to Africa.

“PACT is working in partnership with the World Health Organization and other international cancer organizations to help countries build integrated, sustainable National Cancer Control Plans suited to their specific needs and conditions,” said H.E. Hajia Turai Yar'Adua, Nigeria's First Lady, who signed a Practical Arrangement with the IAEA during its annual General Conference.

“Such plans cover all aspects of cancer care and control, from prevention and early detection, through treatment to end-of-life care,” she said.

H.E. Hajia Turai Yar'Adua is a founder of Nigeria's International Cancer Centre in Abuja (ICCA). Under the agreement, PACT will work with the ICCA to fight cancer in Nigeria and help address the needs for cancer control assistance in other African countries.

“As the most populous country in Africa, Nigeria is a leader on the continent, and is an important ally in the fight against cancer,” said Werner Burkart, IAEA Deputy Director General for Nuclear Sciences and Applications.

“With its partnership expertise, PACT can assist Nigeria and the ICCA in establishing sound partnerships that will reach beyond the borders of this important nation,” he said. “In particular, Nigeria's high statistical profile enables us to set a precedent in using population- and institution-based cancer registries in putting cancer at the top of public health agendas continent-wide,” he said.

“More importantly, Nigeria is can become an important partner in delivering assistance to other countries in Africa in the development of national cancer plans and establishment of joint pilot projects,” said Burkart.

PACT and ICCA will collaborate in public awareness-raising and education; assessment of the cancer incidence profile, interventions and targets to strengthen national capacity; determination of priority actions; identification of successful projects/programmes in the short-term; resource mobilization, including the elaboration of joint grant applications as appropriate; and monitoring and evaluation practices.

“PACT is calling on donors, great and small, to add their support to the fight against cancer. I urge you to join this effort. Together we can close the gap and end the cancer inequalities that spell pain and death for millions of people,” said Hajia Turai Yar'Adua.