IAEA Creates "PACT" Fundraising Fund To Fight Cancer
The cancer ward at Kandy General Hospital, Sri Lanka, has just 70 beds but typically the number of patients is twice as many. (Photo credit: P. Pavlicek/IAEA)
Radiotherapy treatment is crucial for a majority of cancer patients but most people in developing countries simply cannot access it. The IAEA has set up PACT - "Programme of Action for Cancer Therapy" - to take radiotherapy to where it is most needed. The IAEA's Board of Governors backed the PACT plan at its meeting in Vienna 14-18 June 2004. It paves the way for the IAEA to seek and direct funds from individuals, charitable trusts, foundations and the public and private sectors to help patients in poor countries fight cancer. The World Health Organization (WHO) has welcomed the initiative.
Cancer kills more people than AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria put together. A single radiotherapy machine can deliver nearly a million treatments during its 20 to 30 year lifespan. But the need is enormous. The number of cancer patients in the developing world is set to double, from 5 million in the year 2000, to nearly 10 million per year by 2020.
Through PACT, the IAEA will build partnerships within and among countries, and with other United Nations organizations, like WHO, and other non-UN bodies. With enough support, the programme could save or improve the quality of millions of lives each year.
IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei told the Board that, "a large deficit exists in equipment and staff in developing countries that prevents many patients from receiving appropriate radiotherapy treatment." PACT "seeks to increase our capacity to assist Member States in providing cancer treatment and care, working in conjunction with the World Health Organization and others, mainly by expanding our fundraising efforts with non-traditional donors," he said.
The IAEA has a long track record of providing essential equipment, and training staff to safely treat cancer patients. It has delivered over $57 million of radiotherapy technology to developing Member States since 1981. Ethiopia, Ghana, Mongolia, Namibia and Uganda would not have radiotherapy facilities without the IAEA’s support. PACT will expand these efforts to improve cancer control programs according to the priorities and needs of the countries and regions concerned. For more information about PACT, please contact the Programme Manager Mr. Massoud Samiei or the IAEA Division of Public Information for details.