The Akbaraly Foundation was invited to represent Madagascar at the eleventh international conference organized by AORTIC (the African Organization for Research and Training in Cancer) which was held in Kigali, Rwanda, last October.
Dr Francesco Cimino, Vice President of the Akbaraly Foundation, and Dr Elisa Sala presented a study titles “Efficiency of Breast and Cervical Cancer Screening in the Southern and Mid Regions of Madagascar” based on the data collected in the Rex Center in Fianarantsoa and through our Mobile Unit.
This conference represented, for the Akbaraly Foundation and for our main partner, the NGO La Vita Per Te, a great opportunity to make a name for ourselves and to share experiences and knowledge.
We were invited to present the epidemiological data on breast and cervical cancer during the “poster” session: an incredible opportunity to publish our work and to show the world that Madagascar is a fully-fledged member of the group of countries who are active in the field of oncological research, thanks to the work of us all.
During the conference, we’ve met researchers, scientists, doctors and nurses, all of whom are committed to the fight against cancer in Africa. We have also noticed that only a handful of countries in the African continent have put in place a National Strategy against cancer, and the number of nations who have a National Cancer Registry is even smaller. In Madagascar, the only available data are the ones collected by the Akbaraly Foundation.
When it comes to research, experts are now focusing on communications and sociology in addition to the traditional fields of medicine and biology. It is fundamental to provide the local populations with new educational and communications material in order to win their cultural resistances. This is also an area where the Akbaraly Foundation shines, with a number of communication and awareness campaigns dedicated to the Malagasy population.
This conference truly showed us that Africa is alive, that it is growing, investing and working hard, aware that cancer is a terrible plague that is responsible for a very high percentage of deaths, a number only destined to increase over the next few years.
We know that we need to work hard on prevention. That epidemiological data and research are fundamental. That training the local social and health workers involved in the process of treatment and prevention is a crucial point of the system. That sharing our knowledge and skills is just as vital as technological research.
In short, participating to the conference has truly opened a door for us, and we are very proud to have been part of it.
We hope to participate to the next edition of the conference, planned in 2019 in Maputo, Mozambique, where we hope to be even more prepared and with many new things to share! Madagascar will continue to grow. Thank you.