Foundation Bridges Pediatric Radiation Oncology Gap in Africa with Virtual Bootcamp

Sunday Ehigiator

In its efforts to bridge the gap with pediatric radiation oncology in Africa and promote a dedicated pediatric radiation oncology treatment center and fellowship training program in Nigeria, the Dorcas Cancer Foundation (TDCF) recently launched the Pediatric Radiation Oncology Virtual Bootcamp (# PedROC) held.

In a recent statement from its founder, Dr Adedayo Joseph, she said that while radiation therapy is a necessary and highly specialized treatment modality in childhood cancer, access to pediatric radiotherapy oncology services and specialists in Nigeria is significantly deficient.

The 2018 World Health Organization (WHO) report states that more than 80 percent of childhood cancers occur in low- and middle-income (LMIC) countries, while childhood cancer deaths are two to three times higher than in high-income countries (HIC).

Joseph, who is also a clinical radiation oncologist and research program director at Lagos University Teaching Hospital NSIA-LUTH Cancer Center, said the foundation is running a pediatric Radiation Oncology Virtual Bootcamp (#PedROC).

She said the virtual bootcamp, held from Thursday, July 29 to Friday, July 30, 2021, was aimed at bridging the pediatric oncology oncology gap by providing access to ongoing exercises and skills updates delivered by renowned pediatric radiation oncologists from across the world. whole world.

Joseph said the program is the pilot of a series of continuing education courses in pediatric radiation oncology designed for the entire oncology workforce in Nigeria and Sub-Saharan Africa, including: radiotherapists and therapists, physicists, radiologists and pediatric oncology nurses who will all have the opportunity to take advantage of the training sequence.

She added that the program is also in line with the Global Initiative for Childhood Cancer (GICC), which aims to increase the survival rates of children with cancer to at least 60 percent by 2030 with significant interest in LMIC such as Nigeria, where survival rates are remarkably lower than HIC.

“In Nigeria, we have limited access to pediatric radiation oncology, training or expertise – it is a disadvantaged population and an issue that needs to be addressed if pediatric cancer survival is going to really improve in the country.

“Radiation therapy contributes to 40 percent of all cancer cures worldwide. It is used for curative treatment, to improve quality of life, for pain relief and to treat other conditions such as bleeding, skin disorders and more,” she explained.

The Vice President Association of Radiation and Clinical Oncologist of Nigeria, Dr. Nwamaka Lasebikan, also said that accessing radiotherapy services in Nigeria is a huge challenge, noting that only four centers currently offer the services in the 36 states of the country, with only two of the centers equipped with modern scheduling machines and software. for imaging treatments.

Speaking about the need for a pediatric radiation oncology training program in Nigeria, Lasebikan, who is also a clinical consultant and radiotherapist-oncologist at the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, said it will ensure continuous, meaningful development of manpower and adequate progress in the long run. term in the care of pediatric oncology patients.

Speaking at the boot camp, she said there is an urgent need to rapidly scale up the skills of healthcare personnel tasked with providing care to this vulnerable group, while at the same time working to provide the necessary infrastructure to enable healthcare personnel to propose to tackle cancer through active oncology care.

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