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Donors and Partners Become Champions Against Women’s Cancers

Hayat Sindi and Rafael Mariano Grossi

Hayat Sindi, Vice President/Chairperson and Chief Advisor to the IsDB president (left) and IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi, sign an agreement between organizations at the IAEA headquarters in Vienna, Austria in January  2020, to work together to assist countries in their efforts to address women’s cancers. (Credit: D Calma, IAEA)

On 17 September 2019, we were delighted to sign the IsDB-IAEA Partnership Initiative for Breast and Cervical Cancer Control in Low-and Middle-Income Countries with the Islamic Development Bank. This marks the beginning of a journey between our two organizations that will undoubtedly lead to exciting developments in global efforts to address women’s cancers.

As contributors to sustainable development, with a strong focus on the field of breast and cervical cancers, the IAEA and the IsDB aim to build partnerships and provide assistance to help countries stop the increase in new cases of the disease and save millions of women’s lives.

Our first group of champions

The partnership will contribute to meeting the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 3 on health and also aims to support efforts to reach the World Health Organization’s ambitious goal to accelerate the elimination of cervical cancer.  

The governments of Belgium, France, Monaco, Russia, Sweden and the USA - longstanding partners of the IAEA in the fight against cancer - have already provided financial contributions to the IsDB-IAEA Initiative since. ‘Newcomers’ beyond governments have also joined the endeavour, including the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations, DirectAID (an Africa-based NGO), and radiotherapy machine manufacturers like Elekta and Varian Medical Systems. This group of champions is blazing a trail as the first boosters and advocates of the Initiative. Our appreciation for their generosity is tremendous.

We continue working and raising our voices

At the IAEA’s Programme of Action for Cancer Therapy (PACT), we invest a lot of time in identifying potential new partners and in preparing proposals for collaboration that will link the strengths of our organization with those of others with common interests, with the goal of improving human health in our Member States. Despite the COVID-19 situation, our work with the IsDB is continuing apace, as we work together to bring countries and different organizations together to join us in this important effort. 

Recently, we organized a series of virtual high-level roundtable meetings hosted by Rafael Mariano Grossi, Director General of the IAEA and Bandar M.H. Hajjar, President of the IsDB, attended by more than 40 current donors and new partners. Usually, we organize physical meetings to present our projects, but the current situation with the pandemic has posed a different set of challenges to ensure a successful event. However, being able to work virtually has allowed us to be more flexible in coordinating agendas and encouraging attendance from people from all over the world.

There are many tasks before us that we need to be completed to ensure that this Initiative will reach its goal. The work is just beginning. Cancer affects women of all ages, and COVID-19 is making the situation worse in many developing countries. With our partners, the IAEA remains committed to tackling women’s cancers by pursuing innovative partnerships and new financial mechanisms. Together we can ensure that we can achieve #CancerCare4All and #CancerCare4Her.

About the author: José Otárola-Silesky works in resource mobilization at the IAEA Division of Programme of Action for Cancer Therapy – PACT.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessary reflect the official policy or position of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) nor the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB). Any content provided by our bloggers are of their opinion and are not intended to malign any religion, ethnic group, club, organization, company, individual.   

Last update: 15 Feb 2021

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