Yet another Israeli humanitarian mission improves lives in Africa!
Tanzanian doctors completed advanced radiotherapy training at leading Israeli cancer centers this month as part of the African country’s efforts to upgrade cancer treatment services.
According to the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), over 42,000 people will be diagnosed with the disease in Tanzania this year, with almost 29,000 people dying. These numbers are expected to increase by over 50 percent by 2030. According to Business Daily Africa, Tanzania has the second highest number of cancer deaths in East Africa after Kenya.
While radiotherapy is an essential tool in the treatment of many cancers, it is currently only being offered as a public service in Dar es Salaam, the most populous city in Tanzania. With support from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Tanzania is investing in additional radiotherapy facilities, but there is a great need for more trained staff.
In an effort to address this, the IAEA facilitated training for two radiation oncologists and two radiation therapists at the Assuta Ramat Hachayal Center and the Sheba Medical Centre at Tel Hashomer, Israel. Areas included in the training were 3-dimensional radiotherapy planning and CT simulation.
Israel’s Development Priorities
This training set the stage for further opportunities to train African cancer professionals through a new partnership between the IAEA and Israel.
“We are proud to offer such critical training opportunities to medical professionals from Tanzania, combining a financial contribution for an IAEA project with in-kind support through training offered by specialists at our cancer care facilities,” said Osnat Luxembourg, Head of Medical Technology at Israel’s Ministry of Health.
Merav Ben-Avi, Director of External Relations and International Cooperation at Israel’s Atomic Energy Commission, added that “this effort not only reflects Israel’s development priorities to strengthen human capacity and to transfer the latest know-how, but it also opens a new chapter in collaborating with the IAEA’s technical cooperation program to support partner countries in addressing the growing cancer burden.”
Muya Sikudhana, a radiation oncologist from Tanzania, spoke about the rare opportunity he and his colleagues have been given in Israel.
“This training enabled us to update our knowledge with hands-on experience in advanced technologies for the treatment of common cancers,” he said.
Israeli doctors often travel to various parts of Africa to offer their care and knowledge to the local population, in addition to training African professionals in the Jewish state.
In November, Dozens of pediatricians from Ethiopia and neighboring countries participated in an Israeli course which trained them to heal common pediatric orthopedic deformities.
Israel’s embassy in Nigeria in October opened a pediatric clinic for refugees at a displaced persons camp in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) near Abuja to treat displaced children in need of primary care.
In September, another delegation from Rambam Health Care Campus in Haifa gave an emergency medicine course to local doctors and nursing staff in the village of Nakuru, Kenya.
The Rambam team taught their local counterparts CPR equipment maintenance, case-management techniques, basic and advanced resuscitation methods and how to use new, more advanced equipment.
Israel has a long history of sharing expertise with African countries, deploying aid operations in several countries on the continent.