Empowering Women In The Area Of Radiotherapy - How To Increase The Impact On Society In Africa?

Valentina Varbanova - International Atomic Energy Agency
Kirsten Hopkins - International Atomic Energy Agency
Catherine Watta - Kenyatta National Hospital
Salwa Boutayeb - Institut National d'Oncologie Sidi Mohamed Ben Abdellah
Catherine K Mwaba - Cancer Diseases Hospital
Nazima Dharsee - Ocean Road Cancer Institute (ORCI); Ocean Road Hospital
Africa is the continent with the highest number of least developed countries globally (33 out of 46) and at the same time the continent with the lowest access to radiotherapy services, with 24 countries lacking radiotherapy services. To date, only 27 IAEA Member States (MSs) out of 46 have access to public radiotherapy services. Women are specifically affected by cervical and breast cancer. Cervical cancer is a preventable disease. Yet it is the most common cause of cancer in the African region where it accounts for 22% of all female cancers and 12% of all newly diagnosed cancer in both men and women annually. The role of women is vital not only for their participation in society and stronghold of family, but also related to their participation as professionals in the area of radiotherapy and the potential impact they can have on society as health professionals. The Division for Africa, Department of Technical Cooperation, in Collaboration with the Division of Human Health, have been supporting MSs through national and regional technical cooperation (TC) projects to establish, strengthen and expand their radiotherapy services. The IAEA facilitates transfer of nuclear technology by building the capacity of human resources through long and short-term trainings and expert missions as well as procuring radiotherapy equipment. Under TC regional project RAF6050 Improving Access to Quality Cancer Management through Sustainable Capacity Building (2017-2019), the IAEA provided support to more than 200 African participants to help them upgrade to new radiotherapy and brachytherapy treatment techniques or on specific types of cancers, such as paediatrics and prostate. This event will focus on the achievements of project RAF6050 and how it has benefitted female medical professionals by building their capacities in the area of radiotherapy. This event will showcase some successful stories of how women were trained and empowered through a TC project and how their work has had an important impact on their society and beyond. It will also aim to inspire other women working or considering taking up studies in radiotherapy.