The IAEA's Programme of Action for Cancer Therapy (PACT) took the occasion of the 56th IAEA General Conference to brief Member States and donors on progress of its work to fight the growing cancer burden facing low- and middle-income countries. In a series of presentations, PACT staff highlighted the status and results of several cancer control projects currently being implemented in IAEA Member States. More than 50 participants - including individuals from PACT's partner organisations, supporters and donors - were on hand for the event.
In welcoming the delegates, IAEA Deputy Director General of the Department of Nuclear Sciences and Applications, Daud Mohamad, stressed the need to address the fight against the cancer epidemic in a comprehensive way.
"Effective collaboration with organizations that complement the IAEA expertise in cancer control is of primary importance," he said.
"According to some estimates, cancer will kill more than 13 million people by 2030," Mr. Mohamad pointed out. "During the last seven years, PACT has worked to raise awareness of the global cancer burden, in particular in developing countries, where existing radiation medicine infrastructure and resources cover only a small portion of the growing need," he noted.
During the event, PACT staff outlined the strong support from donors and Member States that have contributed to the programme's success. PACT speakers also stressed the importance to coordinate activities and mobilize resources to implement comprehensive and sustainable cancer control programmes in the developing world, thus increasing access to treatment and care.
The event additionally highlighted the instrumental role that integrated missions of PACT (imPACT) play in providing countries with an assessment and recommendations to help establish cancer control priorities. By the end of 2012, PACT will have implemented imPACT Missions to 47 countries.
The meeting also showcased a cross-section of many partner, donor and country-to-country initiatives that have supported PACT's activities in cancer control in the developing world. (See full presentation in Story Resources)
To conclude the side event, PACT called on donors and partners to continue their support to the fight against cancer, noting that this major public health issue requires concerted international cooperation and collaboration.
Created in 2004 in response to the developing world's growing cancer crisis, PACT seeks to raise cancer awareness, assess needs, develop demonstration projects and attract donors. PACT also aims to work with leading cancer organisations to develop joint programmes and raise funds for cancer care where they are most needed.
The IAEA, through PACT, has built partnerships within and among countries, with UN bodies, key international cancer control organizations, as well as with private sector and foundations. PACT cooperates with the World Health Organization, the International Agency for Research on Cancer, the International Network for Cancer Treatment and Research and the Union for International Cancer Control, among others.