Expansion of AMCC’s retinoblastoma program to the Democratic Republic of Congo

From December 3rd through the 6th, 2012, Professor Pierre Bey, Medical Director of the Alliance Mondiale Contre le Cancer (INCTR French Branch) and two colleagues from France involved in the care of children with retinoblastoma visited Lubumbashi in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The purpose of their visit was to launch the retinoblastoma program for the early diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation of children with this cancer.

This is the second reference centre established in sub-Saharan Africa (Bamako was the first - for further information click here) in a collaboration between AMCC and the local unit of the French-African Pediatric Oncology Group (GFAOP). Discussions were held with the heads of the ophthalmology unit, of the pediatric oncology department and of the anatomic pathology services of DRC. The mission also provided an opportunity to meet with the Health Minister of Katanga, Dr Augustin Ilunga, who expressed his strong support. The Ministry will contribute to the project by delivering messages to health professionals and the general public about the early signs of retinoblastoma.

On December 5th, a retinoblastoma conference was held and presentations were provided to an audience of 250-300 participants. The faculty was comprised of Pr Laurence Desjardins, Dr Robert Lukamba, Prof. Pierre Bey and Mr Pascal Sirignano and topics included: epidemiology, early diagnosis, staging, treatment, post-treatment surveillance, radiotherapy and ocular prostheses.

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