Special Issue

Challenges and opportunities in the creation and implementation of cancer control plans in Africa

25 Jul 2019
Kalina Duncan, Mishka Kohli Cira, Prebo Barango, Edward Lloyd Trimble

Cancer on the African continent is quickly becoming an overt public health crisis due to an aging population and changes in lifestyle. The World Health Organization (WHO) states that a national cancer control programme should aim to reduce cancer incidence and mortality and improve quality of life of cancer patients, through a National Cancer Control Plan (NCCP) that is systematic, equitable and evidence-based. Despite this, only 11 countries in Africa have a current NCCP. Participants in an U.S. NCI-supported, multi-year, technical assistance program for cancer control planning noted three main opportunities to improve how plans are created and implemented: 1) Mobilisation of resources and partners for plan implementation; 2) Accurate surveillance data to promote better resourcing of NCCPs; and, 3) Sustainable and innovative partnership models to strengthen capacity to implement NCCPs. Most countries in the region face similar challenges in the development and implementation of an NCCP, including inadequate human, technical, and financial resources. Collaborative partnerships increase access to evidence-based cancer control planning tools, mentoring and technical assistance, and have the potential to bridge the capacity gap and catalyse better implementation of NCCPs. Challenges can be overcome by better leveraging these opportunities to address the gaps that inhibit cancer control in Africa.

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