U.S. National Cancer Institute Joins the Fight against Cancer in Central Asia

The U.S. National Institutes of Health’s National Cancer Institute (NCI) organized the first International Cancer Control Leadership Forum for Central Asia in Tashkent from October 14-16, 2015.  The forum was organized in partnership with the Republican Oncology Research Center (RORC), the Association of Directors of Cancer Centers and Radiation Institutes of the Commonwealth of Independent States Countries and Eurasia, and the Union for International Cancer Control.  Over 250 participants, including representatives from all five Central Asian countries, the United States, Armenia, Belarus, the Russian Federation, and Turkey attended the forum.

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Ambassador Spratlen, First Deputy Prime Minister Ikramov, and Minister of Health Alimov welcome presenters at the International Cancer Control Leadership Forum.

Cases of cancer in Central Asian countries continue to increase and health authorities across the region are concerned about cancer’s impact on the development and economic growth in the region.

“As of today, the whole world under the auspices of the World Health Organization is fighting non-communicable diseases, which are among the leading causes of death,” Sarimbek Navruzov, director of the Republican Oncology Research Center of the Ministry of Health, underscored.  “In this vein, special attention is paid to the fight against cancer.”

The goal of the forum was to increase the capacity of participating countries to initiate or enhance their efforts to decrease the burden of cancer in their respective countries.  The forum was a structured, outcomes-focused workshop in which countries exchanged experiences and ideas and worked on developing national cancer control plans.

“Strategic, comprehensive cancer control planning is a key investment for countries to reduce cancer morbidity and mortality, and limit the impact of cancer on national economies and the health of their citizens.  We are pleased that this initiative in conducting regional cancer control outreach has been well received in Central Asia and is strongly supported by leading international associations and collaborating partners.  Such united efforts by the international community are vital to ensuring successful outcomes from this cancer control initiative and will lead to stronger partnerships moving forward,”  said United States Ambassador to Uzbekistan, Pamela Spratlen.

According to Dr. Edward Trimble, Director of the Center for Global Health at the NCI, to address the increasing challenge of cancer in the region, all organizations and centers specializing in cancer control must coordinate their efforts.  NCI, with its long history of working with partners to build sustainable cancer control solutions, can play an important role in promoting regional cooperation and coordination.  The United States and Uzbekistan share a strong partnership in the area of public health covering a wide range of issues, disease prevention and control, maternal and child health, and emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases.

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