Geneva – Morocco became the first African country and the 25th country in the world to join the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), a specialized agency of the World Health Organization (WHO ).
In a statement, IARC emphasizes that “this is an important opening that will develop active partnerships with other research organizations in cancer in the region.”
“Morocco has shown outstanding leadership in making the fight against cancer a major public health priority,” said the center’s director, Dr. Christopher Wild.
He said that the kingdom and reflects “its commitment to advancing our collaboration to another level and takes its place as a key player in cancer research and prevention at the international level.”
The admission of Morocco as a participating State comes after years of collaboration between IARC, the “Lalla Salma Foundation, prevention and treatment of cancer” and the Ministry of Health, working in close coordination to expand research capacity, prevention and fight against the country’s cancer.
“This enhanced collaboration today will benefit several joint research projects in progress on early detection and prevention of cancer,” the statement said.
The strategic areas of collaboration aimed technical support in monitoring and evaluation of screening programs for cervical cancer, capacity building through training for colposcopy and management of cervical precancer, said the IARC, based in Lyon (France).
This cooperation will also cover support for the development and implementation of quality assurance programs and cancer registration.
In Morocco, cancer is the second most common cause of premature death and its incidence is expected to increase by nearly 60 percent between 2012 and 2030.
Founded in 2005, the “Foundation Lalla Salma, prevention and treatment of cancer”, chaired by HRH Princess Lalla Salma, plays a strategic role in the early detection and treatment program for breast and cervical cancers. The Foundation organizes awareness campaigns on cancer as well as access to free treatment programs for patients with limited incomes. By creating “Houses of Life”, the Lalla Salma Foundation has demonstrated the importance of the environment where cancer patients receive their care.