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Improving the Quality of Radiotherapy in Morocco

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Professor Benjafar with radiotherapy fellows from various African countries. (Photo: National Oncology Institute)

The importance of radiotherapy in treating and managing cancer is well known. Highly skilled and trained staff are critical to ensuring the safe use of radiotherapy devices and the efficacy of treatments.

Around 17 500 patients require radiotherapy each year in Morocco, and the demand is growing. In partnership with the Ministry of Health, and with support from the Lalla Salma Foundation, the IAEA is delivering support to improve the quality of radiotherapy in Morocco.

Many of Morocco’s public radiotherapy centres are already equipped with the necessary technologies to carry out high-precision techniques (including intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT), image guided radiation therapy (IGRT), volumetric modulated arc therapy (VMAT), and arc therapy). However, these state-of-the-art techniques must be delivered by adequately trained staff in order to provide improvements in the treatment of cancer patients. In light of these challenges, Morocco requested a national technical cooperation project1 in 2016 to support the development of the country’s human resource capacity through the harmonization of clinical training in radiation oncology.

Radiotherapy personnel, including radiation oncologists, medical physicists, radiation therapy technicians and oncology nurses from eight major teaching hospitals are benefitting from IAEA-supported in-country training over the course of the three year project. Additional training has been provided in Belgium, France and India. Eighteen fellows, from six teaching hospitals, have learned about the use of high precision techniques related to teletherapy and brachytherapy.

Follow-up expert missions have been conducted to review how the training was translated into clinical practice at hospitals in Rabat, Fès, Casablanca and Marrakesh, and recommendations for further improvement have been proposed as needed.

The project has also supported a Quality Assurance Team for Radiation Oncology (QUATRO) mission to University Hospital Hassan II, Oncology Hospital, Department Radiotherapy, Fès. This comprehensive, independent quality audit provides important information to decision-makers on how to improve the quality of radiotherapy services.

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1 MOR6023, ‘Improving the Quality of Radiotherapy by Developing Human Resources Capacity through Harmonization of Clinical Training in Radiation Oncology’

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