Goals of AORTIC 2013 meeting

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Published: 2 Dec 2013
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Dr Ahmed Elzawawy – President Elect of AORTIC

Dr Ahmed Elzawawy talks about the 2013 AORTIC meeting and the goals of the organisation over the next two years.

Read the conference report on the 2013 AORTIC meeting for free.

At this meeting this year really it was very successful in the context not only about the numbers of participants but that people come from different parts, 42 countries in Africa, from the United States, and they represent not only the United States but they represent a very important organisation, the American Cancer Society, ASCO, and others, there is a long list; internationally the UICC, Afrox, and surely the WHO, the IARC, the IAEA, the International Atomic Energy Agency, many different big international organisations with the aims of how to bring all these together to serve the cause of increasing cancer care and cancer control in Africa because we are living all in one planet. What is new in this conference is also that surprisingly we have also colleagues from China, more than 10 people representing big institutions and big centres in China are coming here and this is very good because we would like to have the interest of the whole world to work together.

What is new this year is that we will appoint a Vice-President for Europe and because we have always a Vice-President for North America because historically this organisation was started in the United States and until the present we have the honour that we have the contribution and really the guidance of very big leaders in the United States. I myself consider some of them like a mentor or father, like James Holland and Jimmie Holland. So what is nice in this organisation is that we are working together. What would serve Africa, by the way, from the scientific point of view, could serve patients, science is science, could solve some problems in the United States or maybe some problem about medical biology or something in the UK. Science is science; what solves the problem of affordability of cancer treatment and the problem of drugs and cost of drugs, the cost of drugs becomes a very serious problem in the United States and many parts of Europe. It is catastrophic until now in Africa, yes, but it has become a serious problem in the United States.

So the solutions are not the same; the approach is not the same but we can learn from different examples to serve the whole cause. Other things like trials and research; Africa, until now, is away from, except rarely, clinical trials and in research but it deserves more and it would serve humanity if more participation from Africa but it needs some more building of infrastructure and health. Interestingly we see that many researchers in Africa would like to co-operate together and this is our raison d'être for African organisations, of research and training, this is the raison d'être of AORTIC. And it’s in the interest, and not only the interest but really the proposals coming from different parts of the world, and particularly from the United States to support the development of research that could serve solving a problem in Africa and at the same time would serve science and patients everywhere. Because I do believe that we in Africa, as I’m Egyptian, Egypt is part of Africa, part of the African civilisation, we should be not only part of the problem and to continue to say that we have a problem, we know that we have a problem, we know our problems very well, it is very well studied, but to be part of the solution that could serve Africa and humanity. This is my message as I am the new President of AORTIC and this is a message of AORTIC in general because we are working together and this is a message of the several organisations with whom I am working and I have the honour to be their president. So it is a global message, not my personal message, but I am speaking because I am very enthusiastic that this message appears as my message but it’s our message.