AFCRN delivers tailored trainings in sub-Saharan Africa

The African Cancer Registry Network (AFCRN) was formally inaugurated on 1st March, 2012. It is supported via the Cancer Registry Programme of the International Network for Cancer Treatment and Research (INCTR). AFCRN has succeeded and expanded the activities of the East African Cancer Registry Network (EARN), which was established in January 2011, thanks to the support of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation (USA). The aim of the project was to improve the effectiveness of cancer surveillance in five east African countries by providing expert evaluation of current problems and technical support to remedy identified barriers, with long-term goals of strengthening health systems and creating research platforms for the identification of problems, priorities, and targets for intervention. The success of the EARN project has attracted further support, as a grant from the pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) - Oncology division. This has permitted expansion of activities to the whole of sub-Saharan Africa. These financial contributions to the work of cancer registration in Africa are a recognition of the increasing burden of non-communicable diseases, and especially cancer, in the continent, and the need for adequate surveillance as a fundamental part of any rational programme for cancer control. Early in 2012, the members agreed that, as part of the “Global Initiative for Cancer Registration” being led by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), the Network would act as a consortium to provide a “Regional Hub” for cancer registries in Sub Saharan Africa.

The role of a regional hub is in:
• providing technical and scientific support to countries;
• delivering tailored training in population-based cancer registration and use of data;
• advocating the cause of cancer registration in the region and facilitating setting up associations and networks of cancer registries; and
• coordinating international research projects and disseminating findings

As one of its four roles of a regional hub the Network has successfully organised two Practical Training Course for registry staff who want to become cancer registrars in the future, total 12 participants received the 4 weeks training; one Advanced Training Course for experienced cancer registrars to improve their knowledge and skill on cancer registration in African settings, 14 registrars trained. The 2nd Advanced Training Course has been scheduled from 19th to 23rd November in collaboration with the Institute of Human Virology, Nigeria and preparations are being carried out.

Report on 1st Advanced Training Course –Malawi Cancer Registry – 9th-13th July 2012

Report on 1st Practical Training Course – Kampala Cancer Registry, Makerere University, Uganda and Nairobi Cancer Registry, Kenya Medical Research Institute, Kenya – 6th-31st August 2012

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