04 November 2020

World Health Summit: Innovation and cooperation for better cancer control

Rafael Grossi, Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) calls for more high-level partnerships to ensure that all countries can provide access to diagnosis and radiotherapy for cancer patients.

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The World Health Summit in Berlin is a leading strategic forum for global health first held in 2009. Every October, it draws international experts from academia, politics, the private sector and civil society to Berlin for a three-day summit, where stakeholders and decision-makers from 100 countries and every field in healthcare seek solutions to global health challenges.

At this year’s virtual Summit, co-chairs Dr Julie Torode of UICC and Anja Nitzsche of IAEA led a discussion on national progress, persisting challenges and opportunities for innovations to expand access to cancer diagnosis, treatment and palliative care. Representatives from government, clinical community, industry and advocates shared perspectives with country examples from Colombia, Bangladesh, India, Nigeria and Mexico. The full session co-hosted by IAEA and Varian Medical Systems can be heard here: “Radiation Therapy as an Essential Component of Cancer Control”. 

IAEA reported on the event, highlighting its collaborations focused on education and capacity building partnerships, alongside the introduction of technological improvements. Panellists underscored the essential role radiotherapy will play in achieving the targets set out in the Global Strategy to Accelerate the Elimination of Cervical Cancer and also the threat to current advances made in cancer control due to disruptions from COVID-19, while recognizing the pandemic has also been a driver for acceptability and faster uptake of innovations particularly in the realm of e-health, remote consultations and treatment planning.

Rafael Mariano Grossi, Director General of IAEA took a particularly strong advocacy stance, pledging full IAEA commitment to working in partnerships and “to do more and be better” in driving equitable cancer control services." He called on the cancer community to “join forces and roll up our sleeves, there is a lot to be done”. 

“The status quo of 1 in 4 countries not having access to radiotherapy and almost half of the African continent still not being equipped with even one radiotherapy unit is unacceptable."
     – Rafael Mariano Grossi, Director General, International Atomic Energy Agency

Read the full article by IAEA

The panellists who took part in the session: 

  • Rafael Mariano Grossi, Director General, IAEA
  • Ruiz Gómez, Minister of Health and Social Protection, Colombia
  • Dow Wilson, Chief Executive Officer at Varian Medical Systems
  • Sanowar Hossain, Chairman of the Bangladesh Atomic Energy Commission
  • Supriya Chopra, Professor for Radiation Oncology at the Tata Memorial Center in India
  • Bello Abubakar Mohammed, President-Elect of the African Organisation for Research and Training in Cancer (AORTIC)
  • Francisco Osvaldo García Pérez, Head of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging Department, National Cancer Institute, Mexico. 

Last update

Friday 17 February 2023

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