IAEA launches cancer care initiative in Africa

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The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on Friday, World Cancer Day, launched a new initiative aimed at providing cancer care for people living in low and middle-income countries in Africa.

The initiative, dubbed “Rays of Hope”, was officially launched at an event held on the sidelines of the 35th African Union (AU) Summit, slated for Feb. 5 and Feb. 6 at the AU Headquarters in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa.

Moussa Faki Mahamat, chairperson of the AU Commission; Felix Tshisekedi, President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and current chairperson of the African Union; and Macky Sall, President of Senegal and incoming AU chair, co-hosted the launch event.

Launching the initiative, Director-General of the IAEA, Rafael Mariano Grossi, said the “Rays of Hope” will work to tackle the burden of cancer in Africa by expanding radiotherapy, especially in member states, where radiation treatment is absent.

“I would like to thank the International Atomic Energy Agency for its commitment to our fight against cancer across the continent through strengthening member states’ capacities in radiotherapy to ensure proper care,’’ Tshisekedi, chairperson of the 55-member pan-African bloc said.

Speaking on the occasion, Senegalese President Sall said that cancer causes 700,000 deaths every year in Africa, a continent where over 40 per cent of countries do not have radiotherapy facilities.

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