Implementation Science: An emerging role for strengthening cancer control efforts in Africa

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Published: 9 Jan 2024
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Dr Nwamaka Lasebikan - University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, Ituku-Ozalia, Nigeria

Dr Nwamaka Lasebikan speaks to ecancer about implementation science and its role in strengthening cancer control efforts in Africa.

She talks about the different topics discussed within this session at AORTIC 2023.

Dr Lasebikan mentions the different projects done so far for implementation science and what the future goals are.

Implementation Science: An emerging role for strengthening cancer control efforts in Africa

Dr Nwamaka Lasebikan - University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, Ituku-Ozalia, Nigeria

What was the Implementation Science session about?

The session was titled Implementation Science: an emerging role for strengthening cancer control efforts on the continent. It’s actually a build-up of previous activities for the AORTIC Implementation Science SEEK two years ago. It’s a newly formed SEEK, well at the time two years ago. At that meeting, at the end of the meeting we tried to assess the needs of the participants during the meeting – where people are, what they’d like to see, what opportunities that they’re looking for to try to expand implementation science on the continent.

So the session actually kicked off talking about some of the results, sharing the findings with the participants and what the needs were. We also took examples of implementation science projects that are really answering pertinent problems on the continent. One of the problems that was highlighted in that needs assessment was the lack of funding, lack of mentorship for implementation science on the continent. So the two participants who really talked about their own… shared their experience, the first one was mentored in implementation science and received a small grant to do an implementation science study around improving scheduling of patients so that patients come in, reduced waiting times and improved patient experiences. Hopefully at the end of the day to improve compliance with coming into care to access treatment. That was the first talk.

Then the second one was around an investigator who had a U01 grant on implementation science here on the African continent looking at how they can use implementation science to improve outcomes of patients with HIV and cervical cancer on the continent. So thereafter it was followed with discussions on where participants are, next steps, what needs to be done in time, really understanding the potential that implementation science has in strengthening cancer control efforts on the continent.

As we know, implementation science tends to be the last mile and we know that for most of the evidence-based interventions that are out there, if we can really use implementation science to translate these results into the clinics, into services, into communities, we feel that that will really make a great impact in our cancer control efforts.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

One of the other things that came up during the session was a need to really decolonise implementation science. There’s a lot of interest, the room was packed full. Lots of interest with implementation science but a lot of people still struggle with the terminologies; a lot of people still struggle with some of the strategies because most of them are not really Afrocentric. So there’s a need to try to tailor some of these strategies into our own context so that we can ultimately achieve the best results.