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India, Sri Lanka in PACT Against Cancer

India Donates Teletherapy Unit to Sri Lanka in South-South-IAEA Cooperation

PACT

India donated a teletherapy unit for cancer treatment to Sri Lanka through the IAEA´s Programme of Action for Cancer Therapy (PACT). (Photo: D. Calma/IAEA)

India donated today a teletherapy unit for cancer treatment to Sri Lanka through the IAEA´s Programme of Action for Cancer Therapy (PACT). The donation of the Bhabhatron II machine is in support of the PACT initiative to implement a comprehensive cancer control programme in the south Asian country, one of three PACT Model Demonstration Site (PMDS) in the Asia and the Pacific region.

At a ceremony for the signing of the tripartite agreement held during the 54th IAEA General Conference, Werner Burkart, IAEA Deputy Director General and Head of the Department of Nuclear Sciences and Applications, described the donation a "triumph of hope and collaborative effort to control cancer in developing countries, though it is only one step in a very long road lying ahead."

He also praised the governments of India and Sri Lanka for the initiative.

"India´s initiative is making radiotherapy more accessible, saving lives and lessening suffering," he said.

"Sri Lanka, on the other hand, is making cancer a priority. The country, as PMDS, is a model for cancer control programme implementation in developing countries."

Dr. Srikumar Banerjee, Chairman of the Indian Atomic Energy Commission, praised PACT for its role as vehicle for channeling resources.

"PACT has a major impact on cancer treatment in the developing world," he said.

Dr. Wimaladharma Abeyewickreme, Chairman of Sri Lanka´s Atomic Energy Authority, expressed his gratitude to the Indian Government and to PACT, reaffirming his country´s commitment to the PMDS initiative.

"I am pleased to be here to receive this donation on behalf of my country, and I very much appreciate the effort made by all," he commented.

Dr. Rajendra Achyut Badwe, Director of Mumbay´s Tata Memorial Centre, India´s national comprehensive cancer centre, spoke of the efforts to bring adequate cancer care to patients in developing countries.

"We strive to see that uniform cancer care is offered throughout India and to neighbouring countries," he said.

We strive to see that no patient feels hopeless.

Today´s donation of a Bhabhatron II unit follows the April 2010 donation by India of a similar machine to Vietnam also delivered through PACT.

"There is a gap that can only be filled by low-cost machines," he said.

This year´s Scientific Forum held during the 54th IAEA General Conference was dedicated to cancer in developing countries.

Background

Created by the IAEA in 2004 in response to the developing world´s growing cancer crisis, PACT seeks to raise cancer awareness, assess needs, develop demonstration projects and attract donors.

PACT promoted the development of the WHO/IAEA Joint Programme for Cancer Control and also aims to work with leading cancer organizations to develop partnerships to support the countries in their fight against cancer and raise funds for cancer control where they are most needed.

See Story Resources for more information.

-- By Iulia Iliut and Giovanni Verlini, IAEA Division of Public Information