In spite of a population of 80 million people, there are a very limited number of oncologists and only one cancer hospital - Tikur Anbessa, in Ethiopia's capital city of Addis Ababa, that provides radiation, complex surgery and chemotherapy. Gradually building the capacity for knowledge and awareness of cancer is the first step for tackling the burden of cancer in developing countries, along with other non-communicable diseases, which is expected to increase.
The ultimate goal of the project, which is headed by Dr. Carol Harris, professor of clinical medicine at Einstein, is to increase the capacity for delivering cancer care in Ethiopia by improving patient navigation through the care system, assuring standard protocols and reporting, enhancing public awareness of cancer and developing a pilot site for regional cancer care centers at the Hawassa College of Medicine and Health Sciences. The initiative will also focus on providing a basic cancer care training program for healthcare professionals and surgical training for gynecologists as well as support the annual Ethiopian Oncology National Conference, which represents one of the few possibilities for oncologists within Ethiopia to exchange experiences and knowledge regarding cancer treatment.
The programme will emphasize women's reproductive cancers since they represent the greatest burden of cancer disease in Ethiopia and the patients are young. While the average life expectancy for women in Ethiopia is over 58 years, approximately 44% of patients with breast cancer are under the age of 40.
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