Inside an imPACT Mission: Addressing Cancer Capacities and Needs

3 July 2012
To help address an increasing incidence of cancer in low- and middle-income countries, the IAEA's Programme of Action for Cancer Therapy (PACT) offers the imPACT mission service. Providing Member States with a comprehensive assessment of cancer control capacities and needs, PACT has implemented imPACT missions in over forty countries to date.Cancer represents a growing burden to the health care systems of low and middle income countries across the world. This young cancer patient awaits treatment at the Ocean Road Cancer Institute in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.The radiation emitted from a radiotherapy machine can be used to kill cancer cells in the human body and cure or reduce pain for many cancers. Many cancers will require radiotherapy at some point during treatment, though radiotherapy as a curative treatment is most successful when cases are diagnosed early.To help address the cancer challenges faced by its developing Member States, the IAEA's Programme of Action for Cancer Therapy (PACT) offers a service entitled an imPACT mission, which can be conducted at the request of a country’s Minister of Health. An imPACT mission provides a comprehensive assessment of a country's cancer control capacity and needs. Over forty missions have been implemented by the IAEA since the service's inception in 2005.Stressing an already burdened health care system, Sudan is noting a rise in cancer cases among its population. The IAEA conducted an imPACT mission to Sudan in April 2012, in collaboration with the World Health Organization and the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). The imPACT mission in Sudan began with a series of briefings given by national health authorities detailing the current situation and challenges of cancer control in the country.Dr. Arus Gevozgyan is an oncologist working in the northwestern region of Armenia. Like many countries, Armenia struggles to successfully treat patients who seek medical attention once cancers have moved to an advanced stage. Dr. Gevozgyan works to diagnose and refer cancer patients for treatment in Gyumri, the city she works in, or further away in Yerevan. The IAEA implemented an imPACT mission to Armenia in May 2012.By conducting a country-wide evaluation of Armenia's cancer control capacity and needs, the imPACT team identifies strengths and weaknesses for the country’s decision-makers on how best to proceed in the fight against cancer.An imPACT mission is rarely the first instance in which the IAEA assists its Member States in their battle against cancer. Over the past three decades, the IAEA has implemented several programmes through its Technical Cooperation Programme (TC) to set up radiotherapy facilities, improve efficiency and quality of diagnosis and treatment, and extend nuclear techniques in medicine.In Sudan, a patient undergoes radiotherapy (or radiation therapy) treatment at the Radiation and Isotopes Center (RICK), a large cancer treatment centre in Khartoum.During an imPACT mission at the National Cancer Institute in Hanoi, Vietnam, an expert meets with national counterparts to thoroughly assess Vietnam’s cancer control plans and capabilities.The week-long mission in Armenia concludes with a meeting with the Minister of Health and his staff. During the final meeting, the imPACT mission team presents initial findings in the areas of cancer control planning, cancer registration, prevention, early detection, diagnosis and treatment, palliative care and NGO activities. After the mission, the IAEA then provides a comprehensive set of findings and recommendations in its final report to the Minister of Health and government authorities. These recommendations help countries to effectively implement cancer control planning, early detection and prevention programmes.
Last update: 16 October 2014