Supporting Comprehensive Cancer Control

PACT activities in West Africa

1 December 2010

PACT is working in partnerships to develop new comprehensive strategies and action plans to support cancer control in Africa. As the incidence of cancer continues to increase across the African continent, PACT is working closely with African Member States to raise awareness of the need for increased cancer control measures.

Several meetings held in November aimed to prioritize the importance of the training of personnel and radiation medicine staff as well as informing the general public and governments. The support from IAEA/PACT, WHO and international NGOs, such as the African Organisation for Research and Training in Cancer (AORTIC) was therefore considered essential to coordinate efforts, and above all, to ensure that everybody takes responsibility for an effective cancer prevention.

Supporting Comprehensive National Cancer Control in Dakar

In Dakar, Senegal, the second WHO-IAEA Supported Coordinated Meeting “Supporting Comprehensive Cancer Control” took place from 24 to 26 November 2010. The meeting was jointly coordinated and led by the Technical Cooperation Division for Africa (TACF), PACT Programme Office (PPO) and WHO-AFRO. Representatives of each participating Member State presented the status of national cancer control activities providing valuable information for potential regional cooperation among the Member States. The participants and experts emphasized the growing nature of cancer burden, especially in the African countries, calling attention to the lack of accurate cancer data and the weakness of the health system. The next coordination meeting will be held in 2011 and will include a working session coordinated by WHO-AFRO on the preparation of National Cancer Control Programmes according to regional WHO guidelines.

Opening ceremony of the radiotherapy and nuclear medicine unit at the National Oncology Centre in Mauritania

On 27 November 2010, IAEA/PACT joined the opening ceremony of the radiotherapy unit of the National Oncology Centre in Nouakchott, Mauritania. The ceremony was attended by the President of Mauritania, General Mohamed Ould Abdel Azis and other distinguished guests, including the President of the National Assembly, the President of the Senate, several Ministers and Ambassadors. With the support of the IAEA, the Mauritanian authorities were able to establish in record time, namely over the last 10 months, the radiotherapy centre, equipped notably with a Varian high-energy linear accelerator. The IAEA, through its Technical Cooperation programme, and with backstop from the Division for Human Health (NAHU) and PACT Programme Office (PPO), offered training of radiation medicine staff and expertise on the design of the centre to the Mauritanian authorities. During the ceremony, The Minister of Health of Mauritania confirmed the wish of the Government of Mauritania to become a PACT Model Demonstration Site.

Advocacy, Research and Training in Senegal

At the request of the President of the African Organisation for Research and Training in Cancer (AORTIC), PACT Programme Office attended the “AORTIC Strategic Planning Meeting for Advocacy, Research and Training”, held in Dakar from 28 to 30 November 2010. The meeting included three working groups: education and training; science and research; advocacy and fundraising. The working groups highlighted the fact that advocacy efforts should address preventable types of cancer and that research should focus on breast, infection-related and childhood cancers. The AORTIC Executive Council also pointed up the importance of the partnership with IAEA/PACT in promoting and participating in imPACT reviews and in the Virtual University for Cancer Control and Regional Training Network (VUCCnet) Africa pilot project.