The past and the present work of AORTIC

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Published: 8 Jan 2024
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Prof Serigne Gueye - Campus Franco-Sénégalais, Dakar, Senegal

Prof Serigne Gueye was interviewed by ecancer about the work of AORTIC in the past and present.

He talked about the establishment of AORTIC and its history.

Prof Gueye also discussed various initiatives undertaken by AORTIC to enhance the treatment and prevention of cancer in Africa.

The past and the present work of AORTIC

Prof Serigne Gueye - Campus Franco-Sénégalais, Dakar, Senegal

Is there anything else you would like to add?

AORTIC is aiming at becoming the most prominent cancer organisation in Africa. The history goes back to 1981 when three African oncologists and one American met somewhere in California or… I think it was in Seattle, Washington State, and decided to start an organisation called AORTIC. There was a Cameroonian, Professor Ngu, a Nigerian, Professor Toriola Solanke, Professor Chris Williams, who is in this conference, and Professor Jim Holland, who passed on recently, unfortunately. So three of them have just passed away, only Chris Williams is the one remaining and we are very happy seeing him at this conference almost 42 years later. Then AORTIC stayed like a dormant organisation until we decided to resuscitate AORTIC in 2003 with a meeting in Accra, Ghana, then we came to Senegal, then Cape Town and so on.

AORTIC has developed a cancer plan for the African continent when I was just finishing my term and we presented the cancer plan to the African Union Commissioner for Health. From that, many African countries started drawing up national cancer plans, Senegal has one, and then investing in infrastructure. At that time we had only one cobalt machine in this country and now we have at least three linear accelerators in public hospitals and one in private practice. This is the same in many countries, especially in West Africa. Many countries now have radiotherapy machines while there none maybe ten years ago.

We have been very instrumental in educating human resources for cancer work – psychologists, oncologists, in nursing, physicists, surgeons. We recently developed the very first curriculum in surgical oncology after discussing the issue of that at the AORTIC meeting Kigali, it was, I think, in 2017 in Mozambique. Hopefully at the same time the President of West African College of Surgeons and we signed an MOU with the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. Now we have a new curriculum in surgical oncology that is yet to be implemented in many countries.