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Interview with an AFCRN fellow at the National Zambia Cancer Registry
Article source: http://www.uicc.org/interview-afcrn-fellow-national-zambia-cancer-registry
In an interview with UICC, Ms Catherine Okello, Information Analyst at National Cancer Intelligence Network, shares her 3 month fellowship experience at the National Zambia Cancer Registry facilitated by African Cancer Registry Network (AFCRN) and UICC. Read the full interview below to learn more about GICR, AFCRN and UICC fellowships' efforts in providing techincal and scientific support to countries in the fight against cancer.
Can you explain to us what the GICR is and AFCRN’s role in it?
The Global Initiative for Cancer Registry Development (GICR) is an initiative which aims at reducing the incidence, mortality and suffering due to cancer in the world’s poorest regions through high-quality data that inform cancer control.
GICR has been designed to build cancer registry skills and capacity in low and middle income countries, developing cancer registries to produce high-quality information on the burden of cancer by improving the quality of local data collected through a population-based registration approach. The initiative includes providing regional training, technical advice and research support to cancer registry staff.
The African Cancer Registry Network (AFCRN) is a network regional hub for cancer registration in Sub-Saharan Africa and the role of a regional hub is in: providing technical and scientific support to countries; delivering tailored training in population-based cancer registration and use of data; advocating the cause of cancer registration in the region and facilitating setting up associations and networks of cancer registries; and coordinating international research projects and disseminating findings.
You recently completed a 3 month fellowship with the Zambia Cancer Registry. Can you tell us how this came about and why Zambia was selected?
The fellowship opportunity came about following consultancy visits to the Lusaka cancer registry by AFCRN in October 2009 and 2012 in which a number of measures were identified and recommendations made that were necessary to strengthen cancer registry practices, particularly to transition from hospital to a population based cancer registry. The political will and readiness to work with the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) made the difference in getting action this time.
I was able to spend 3 months with staff at the registry working on the recommendations made by AFCRN. This involved working with the registry staff on using the right methods of collecting new cancer cases in the Lusaka district and the rest of the country. The fellowship was made possible with the support of UICC and the National Cancer Institute, Center for Global Health USA.
Chris Carrigan, Head of the National Cancer Intelligence Network, Public Health England said: “We are incredibly proud of the work Catherine has done in Africa to help share the skills and learning on cancer registration and analysis that we have all worked so hard to develop in the UK. We see this as a key responsibility for PHE and we will be supporting Catherine’s future involvement on global health with the Union for International Cancer Control.”
How was the Cancer Registry in Zambia for the greater Lusaka district strengthened and what role did you play in it?
The cancer registry in Zambia was strengthened as I was able to help them shape a three year work plan for the transition of the Lusaka district into a population based cancer registry. This involved establishing and setting a structure in place which enables the registry to collect all cancer cases within the Lusaka district to achieve a complete coverage of registrations in the Lusaka district while continuing to receive notification of new cancer cases from the rest of the country.
I worked with the registry staff to:
- prepare a list of all possible data sources in the Lusaka district, including death registrations and advised staff to prepare a timetable of visits to each data source and we updated the list of all health facilities within the Lusaka district and health facilities in the Provinces throughout Zambia using the latest list from the Ministry of Health;
- prepare a population dataset which was used for analysis and calculation of percentages, age-specific rates and cancer incidence rates in the Zambia Cancer Registry report;
- collect and process electronic data from one of the main data source of the cancer registry – the Cancer Diseases Hospital in Lusaka, and trained staff on how to process electronic data.
This enabled us to work on the analysis and production of the first cancer registry report for Zambia. An achievement for which we can all be proud.
What did you gain from your fellowship experience?
I have a greater understanding of the importance of support and mentorship to build the capacity of cancer registry staff. I learned to adjust and work at a pace that was suitable for staff and the working environment.
It was great to see the sense of empowerment within the cancer registry team in producing reliable and high-quality information, which will soon give a true picture of cancer cases in Zambia by informing policymakers and health planners, and hopefully start to shape their cancer control planning activities.
Capacity-building in low- and middle-income countries
UICC Workshops purpose is to enable capacity building in key areas with linkage to UICC priority areas and World Cancer Declaration targets in low- and middle-income countries.
Target Candidates: The target of the workshops will be appropriately qualified cancer professionals who work in official bodies, cancer institutes, professional associations, clinics or hospitals in low and middle income countries.
Duration: There is no limiting criteria related to the duration of the training
Available: 3-5 grants per round
Average Value: US$ 30,000 each
Application Closing Dates: 1 March; 1 July; 1 November
Notification of Results: 1 April; 1 August; 1 December
Objectives: UICC Workshop grants support training workshops that lead to capacity building in low- and middle income countries in key areas with linkage to UICC priority areas and World Cancer Declaration targets. Projects are evaluated based on their anticipated impact on cancer control activities at local or regional levels as well as on the career path and professional development of the participants. International collaborations are preferred.
• Submitted projects should demonstrate exceptional quality and appropriate length and cost
• Projects should have strong linkage with UICC priority areas and World Cancer Declaration targets
• Training should focus on low and middle income countries as defined by the World Bank
• There should be clear anticipated impact on cancer control activities at local or regional level
• There should be anticipated impact on career path and professional development of participants
• Suitability and quality of training experts
• International component of the proposal leading to collaborative network creation
Preference given to projects focusing on cancer policy, cervical cancer, palliative care, paediatric oncology and registry development. The Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) is the leading international non-governmental organisation dedicated to the global prevention and control of cancer. Founded in 1933, UICC unites over 800 member organisations in more than 150 countries across the world. UICC’s mission is to connect, mobilise and support organisations, leading experts, stakeholders and volunteers in a dynamic community working together to eliminate cancer as a life-threatening disease for future generations.