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Albania: Rising expectations drive growing health care needs
Date:4/23/2008

Its still one of Europes poorest nations, with an annual per capita income of less than $3000, but today there are many signs of progress and expansion, particularly in Tirana.

The city offers an astonishing parade of contrasts as modernity jostles with tradition: steel and glass office blocks standing next to squat shanties; sleek SUVs negotiating pot-holed highways; funky, minimalist cafes outside of which old men with ancient bathroom scales offer passers-by the chance to weigh themselves for just a couple of coins.

IAEA Support

The IAEA is working with Dr. Sallaku and his staff to tackle the growing cancer crisis on a broad front. The Agencys Programme of Action for Cancer Therapy (PACT), together with WHO, last year helped Albania to draft a National Cancer Control Programme (NCCP). In 2006, the country was selected as a PACT Model Demonstration Site (PMDS), which, it is hoped, will significantly advance efforts to improve cancer control and attract new resources. Already, an additional radiotherapy machine from MDS Nordion was delivered to the Mother Teresa Hospital through PACT in coordination with the Agencys Department of Technical Cooperation (TC). The cost of this machine was shared by the Albanian government.

At the same time, TC is providing expertise and equipment, and facilitating regional training in fields such as radiation oncology. Because of the specialized nature of radiation medicine, we are working closely with the government to ensure the Oncology Institute receives full support and that its personnel are competent. Safety is our priority, says Mikiko Sawanishi, the Technical Cooperation Programme Management Officer for Albania. PACTs modality is broader, focusing on all aspects of cancer care and control. I think the two approaches complement each other.

As in many low-income countries, more than 70% of all cancer cases in Albania are diagnosed too late for effective treatment. Using current sta
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Contact: Angela Leuker
a.leuker@iaea.org
43-126-002-2627
International Atomic Energy Agency
Source:Eurekalert  

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