Last month, C/Can organised a panel within the framework of the third International Conference on Advances in Radiation Oncology (ICARO-3), held February 16-19 by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The virtual event was an opportunity for healthcare professionals to review developments in clinical applications in the fields of radiation oncology, radiation biology and medical physics, with a view to addressing the challenges of appropriate cancer management in member states.
On the final day of the online gathering, C/Can delivered a two-hour ICARO Refresher Course entitled Planning Quality Radiotherapy Services: a City Approach, which was moderated by the organisation’s Global Technical Lead, Dr Rolando Camacho, and Section Head of Applied Radiation Biology and Radiotherapy in the Division of Human Health at IAEA, Eduardo Zubizarreta.
The objectives of the session were to identify the best methodologies to address the demand for radiotherapy services within a city, along with the factors and strategies to be taken into account when designing city-wide approaches.
Cities contain a pool of expertise, services and technology for cancer care and are a good starting point to test service delivery models and ensure that a health system functions as a network to produce the best health benefits possible in a particular population.
The four presentations provided an overview of the insights C/Can gathered in cities through its multisectoral approach, central to which is involving the different levels of government (local, regional, and national), along with civil society and the private sector when planning quality radiotherapy services.
Among the key factors identified by the speakers when designing radiotherapy development plans, were baseline information, estimation of service demand, benchmarks for equipment and staff requirements and design of intervention packages to reduce gaps in accessibility and coverage of city needs.
This review of C/Can’s progress and lessons learned emphasised the importance of planning radiotherapy services following the IAEA recommendations and available global resources through a stepwise, participatory and consensus-building process that leads toward policy adoption and improved access to quality cancer care.
After a brief introduction to the C/Can model by the organisation’s Diogo Neves, Senior Manager, Technical Assistance and Partnerships, and Rodolfo Alfonso, a medical physicist and IAEA expert, delivered: Demand and supply analysis: a city framework.
Dr Alfonso noted: “C/Can has prepared comprehensive guidelines to summarize the steps and procedures for designing a radiotherapy development plan, which is first addressed to the city radiotherapy community, the health authorities and the government, potential stakeholders and partners.”
The next session was Building a successful public-private partnership in the health sector: key elements, presented by Dhawal Jhamb, Senior Investment Officer, PPP Transaction Advisory Services, International Finance Corporation, who reviewed the critical drivers for successful public-private partnerships (PPPs) in the health sector and its applications in supporting the financing of radiotherapy services in low- and middle-income countries.
Mr Jhamb explained: “PPPs can mobilise private finance, increase access, introduce efficiencies in the delivery of public health services, and improve health outcomes,” adding, “even when execution is by private partner, the final responsibility for service delivery continues to remain with the public sector agency.”
The final presentation was: A practical example: Yangon City, Myanmar, by Prof. Khin Cho Win, President of the Myanmar Society for Radiation Oncology, in collaboration with Thet Ko Aung, C/Can’s former City Manager of Yangon, who explained that a radiotherapy development plan should be designed in line with the National Cancer Control Plan and National Health Plan so as to involve all relevant stakeholders in the project.
Prof. Khin Cho Win concluded: “The participation of representatives from the relevant ministries and government organisations in the project is key for endorsement, because ownership of this policy document by the city is key for implementation.”
The full program can be accessed here.
The C/Can Refresher Course is available here.