TDCF deploys innovative approach on cancer treatment in Africa
The Dorcas Cancer Foundation (TDCF) has deployed a specialised virtual training programme, Pediatric Radiation Oncology (PedROC) Africa, to develop healthcare professionals’ capacity by increasing proficiency and expertise in childhood cancer treatment in sub-Saharan Africa.
According to the non-profit organisation that has been working since 2015 to improve childhood cancer care in Africa, the initiative, which has had over 650 oncology healthcare professionals from over 60 countries in Africa, South America and Europe participate, is an innovative approach to bridging the huge gap in accessing specialised training for pediatric cancer treatment in the region.
Speaking after completion of the second edition and official launch of the programme, the founder of TDCF, who is also the head of pediatric radiation oncology at the NSIA-LUTH Cancer Centre, Dr. Adedayo Joseph, said the goal of the PedROC programme is to provide capacity building for pediatric radiation oncology professionals, thereby increasing expertise and improving outcomes in sub-Saharan Africa.
She said as the continent faces growing incidence of pediatric cancer in the coming years, the sustainability of this programme remains a priority for the foundation.
According to her, radiotherapy is a crucial element of multimodal cancer treatment for pediatric cancer patients, adding that with an expected rise in pediatric cancer cases, the demand for radiotherapy in Low and Middle Income Countries (LMICs), like Nigeria, is projected to increase.
She said the region already faces a critical shortage of trained radiation oncology professionals, which seems to be worsening with the exodus of healthcare professionals out of the region to greener pastures.
Joseph said compounding this shortage is the severely limited availability of training programmes and education resources in pediatric radiation oncology for all cadres of healthcare professionals treating children with cancer in Africa.
Head of Programmes at TDCF, Mr. Korede Akindele, said the foundation is working to ensure prompt and proper treatment to improve childhood cancer outcomes in Nigeria and Sub-Saharan Africa by providing much-needed access to training to empower radiation oncology professionals in the region.
Akindele, who is also a member, Board of Directors of the International Society of Pediatric Oncology (SIOP), said by connecting experienced experts who are far away, the foundation has eliminated the cost and time inconvenience of travel.
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