On a visit to Mongolia’s National Cancer Centre (NCC) earlier this year, Ayako Kubo, from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, discussed the various services the centre offers, and Japan’s collaboration with foreign countries and international organisations including the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
Dr Bayar Oyun, NCC’s Deputy Director described the state-of-the-art cancer diagnosis and treatment services and training that can now be provided thanks to the support received from the governments of Japan and Monaco, through the IAEA’s Programme of Action for Cancer Therapy (PACT).
Japan has allocated €182,000 to a PACT project for Mongolia through which the NCC has benefited. “The new radiotherapy planning system supported by Japan will be in place this year as our first Linear accelerator radiotherapy machines become operational,” he said. “This will enable us to introduce additional highly accurate 3D radiation therapy and other modern technologies to Mongolia”.
Non-communicable diseases, including cancer, are the main causes of death and illness in Mongolia. Liver and stomach cancers account for over half of all cases and deaths to the disease, and annual figures are expected to double over the next 15 years. Providing adequate care for cancer patients is complicated by a relatively small population living across one of the world’s largest countries. In recognising this, Mongolia’s efforts to provide access to improved treatment planning at the NCC will enable more patients to get the quality cancer care needed.
Further assistance from the Principality of Monaco has provided a valuable boost for palliative care services through the training of palliative care doctors and nurses at district and provincial hospitals and the NCC, and the donation installation of additional equipment. The IAEA also supported technology for cancer diagnosis and treatment for radiation protection, X-ray calibration and medical imaging.
In 2010, the IAEA-PACT designated Mongolia as a PACT Model Demonstration Site. These pilot sites aim to demonstrate the effectiveness of evidence-based strategies as well as the benefits drawn from partners combining their efforts to advance comprehensive cancer control services.