OIC chief: Tackling cancer burden in member states demands urgent, coordinated action

Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Dr. Yousef bin Ahmed Al-Othaimeen stressed that the rising number of cancer cases in the OIC member states demands immediate and coordinated action to stem the spread of the disease.

OIC Assistant Secretary General for Science and Technology Ambassador Naeem Khan emphasized the point on behalf of OIC chief, during the First Ladies Session of the High-Level Regional Seminar on Promoting Awareness Against Cancer in OIC African member states, held in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, on August 2.

More than a half of the OIC member states are low and medium income countries and the burden caused by cancer calls for dedicated resources, both financial, human resources and infrastructure, beyond that available from national health budgets, Al-Othaimeen said.

He added that the OIC General Secretariat in collaboration with the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) and International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) have embarked on projects for the strengthening and establishing of cancer treatment facilities in several OIC countries. He noted that the High-Level Regional Seminar on Promoting Awareness Against Cancer in OIC African member states is a milestone in the Organization’s efforts to support national, regional and international initiatives to address the issue of cancer.

In her address to the seminar, First Lady of Burkina Faso Madam Sika Kabore observed that OIC African member states have a lot of challenges, but the seminar attended by the OIC African First Ladies reaffirm their determination to work together in the fight against cancer in their countries.

The seminar, attended by Burkinabe President Marc Roch Christian Kabore, was addressed by experts from International Atomic Energy Agency; World Health Organization (WHO); Islamic Development Bank; and Statistical, Economic and Social Research and Training Centre for Islamic Countries (SESRIC), among others.

At the end of the seminar, 16 First Ladies from OIC African member states signed the Ouagadougou Declaration that made several recommendations including investing resources in addressing the risk factors associated with cancer; integrating cancer prevention into primary health care systems of OIC countries; encouraging the participation of civil society and community in fostering partnerships for dissemination of information about cancer; strengthening implementation of screening programs for women with a focus on breast cancer and cervical cancer; embracing the Tobacco Free OIC initiative; Developing population-based cancer registry and scaling up national cancer control programs; improving access to appropriate technologies for the diagnosis and treatment of cancer.

The Declaration also recommended that the OIC General Secretariat engage the member states, and collaborate with nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), private sector entities, philanthropic foundations and academic institutions, in order to develop partnerships to scale up cancer prevention and control as well as improving the quality of life of cancer patients.

Source: International Islamic News Agency