Fighting Cancer in the Developing World
On 28 February 2012, the IAEA's Programme of Action for Cancer Therapy (PACT) and the Order of Malta initiated a cancer control partnership focusing on making affordable radiotherapy available for all.
During the visit to the IAEA, the Supreme Head of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, His Most Eminent Highness the Prince and Grand Master Fra' Matthew Festing, met IAEA Director General, Yukiya Amano.
The Prime and Foreign Minister of the Order of Malta, Grand Chancellor Jean-Pierre Mazery, and Massoud Samiei, PACT Director, signed the Practical Arrangements to support comprehensive cancer control in low- and middle- income countries.
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The Order of Malta, founded in 1050 and headquartered in Rome, Italy, leads international and medical disaster relief programmes, and provides humanitarian aid and healthcare in over 120 countries.
"Member States have been very supportive of the IAEA's role in cancer control," said Samiei. "PACT has been working rigorously over the past five years to increase resources to make radiotherapy available for all. The Order of Malta has extensive experience in humanitarian work across the globe with projects in 120 countries, especially in health care and emergency support."
The collaboration will focus on the PACT Model Demonstration Sites, especially in Albania. Albania has hosted a PACT Model Demonstration Site for over five years and is committed to strengthening its cancer control capacity.
Battling Cancer in Albania
With a population of approximately 3.1 million people and about 7 700 new cancer cases every year, Albania's demand for cancer care greatly exceeds the available capacity. The IAEA assists the country in identifying priority areas for fighting cancer and has committed funds for the purchase of a cobalt-60 radiotherapy machine. The IAEA's PACT and its partners support Albania in training and educating cancer specialists, as well as in raising awareness about the benefits of a holistic approach to planning and delivering cancer control and care. However, there is still a major need for training and workforce development.
More Effective National Cancer Control
PACT Model Demonstration Sites, or PMDS, promote cross-sectorial partnerships between health ministries, national counterparts and international development partners in cancer prevention, early detection, diagnosis, treatment and palliative care. PMDS are enabling the Member States involved to combine the individual strengths and resources of the Ministries of Health and their national counterparts, WHO and IAEA/PACT, and other partners and stakeholders to maximize the impact of priority interventions included in the national cancer control plan.
Launched in 2004, the Programme of Action for Cancer Therapy (PACT) is an IAEA initiative that helps low- and middle-income Member States in their efforts to tackle the growing cancer crisis, by raising cancer awareness, assessing needs and mobilizing resources. PACT builds on the IAEA's expertise in radiation medicine, to help countries develop sustainable and comprehensive cancer control programmes integrating radiation medicine.
-- By Petar Buselic and Iulia Iliut, IAEA Division of Public Information
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