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Sovereign Military Order of Malta to Continue Support to IAEA on Cancer Control

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Günther A. Granser, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the Sovereign Order of Malta to the United Nations in Vienna, and IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi signed Practical Arrangements to cooperate in the area of comprehensive cancer control on 23 September 2020. (Photo: D. Calma/IAEA)

The Sovereign Military Order of Malta, which funds medical, social and humanitarian work, will continue to support the goals of the IAEA in cancer control, as stated in an agreement signed yesterday during the IAEA General Conference.

The Practical Arrangements, signed by IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi and Ambassador Günther A. Granser of the Sovereign Order of Malta, establish the framework for collaboration on outreach and resource mobilization related to IAEA-supported activities in nuclear medicine, radiation medicine, radiation oncology, radiotherapy and palliative care. “These concrete steps of cooperation with the Agency in the battle against cancer, particularly in Albania, will further enhance the relations between the Order [of Malta] and the Agency to support the advancement of cancer control in low- and middle-income countries,” said Ambassador Granser.

As a concrete step, the Order of Malta has offered financial support to an IAEA technical cooperation project aimed at enhancing nuclear medicine and radiotherapy and improving patient and staff safety at Albania’s main hospital. Through several technical cooperation projects, the IAEA has supported the hospital in the capital Tirana in improving cancer diagnostic and treatment equipment and has provided intensive training for clinical staff. “This support enables the hospital to provide treatment for 1,350 cancer patients per year, representing 90 per cent of all treated radiotherapy patients in Albania,” said Christoph Henrich, the IAEA Programme Management Officer for Albania. “Support in the introduction of new techniques allow now for the treatment of more complex cancer cases and reduced treatment waiting times.”

The Order of Malta also supports the IAEA’s Programme of Action for Cancer Therapy (PACT). PACT provides assistance in the area of cancer through imPACT Reviews, resource mobilization, and by supporting the development of strategic documents, such as Comprehensive National Cancer Control Plans. PACT supports cancer-related IAEA activities that are delivered through technical cooperation, human health and other programmes.

“We hope to build on this partnership in the context of the Saving Women’s Lives from Cancer Initiative to extend support for diagnosis and treatment of women’s cancers in other IAEA Member States where the Order of Malta has ongoing development and humanitarian projects,” said Lisa Stevens, Director of PACT.

Established in 1113, the Sovereign Order of Malta is active in more than 30 countries in Africa, 25 countries in Europe and 26 countries in Latin America. Programmes include humanitarian assistance and health programmes, including for the elderly and cancer patients.

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