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NCI PAR 15-155: Improving Anatomic Pathology Services in Sub-Saharan Africa to Support Cancer Care

Project Brief

Accurate diagnosis is key to quality cancer care and to informing and populating cancer registries. In most sub-Saharan African (SSA) countries, however, varying standards of pathology training and the scarcity of a skilled pathology workforce have limited the quality of cancer diagnosis, impairing the quality of cancer care and the accuracy of cancer registry data.

COPECSA is part of a 17-month research strategy funded by the National Institute of Health (NIH) National Cancer Institute (NCI), that focuses on determining the best approach to improve the ability of the anatomic pathology workforce in Eastern, Central, and Southern Africa (ECSA) to detect and diagnose cancer.

This research project has established a new relationship among the University of Colorado (CU) Cancer Center, COPECSA and two additional organizations that are integrally involved in improving cancer care in ECSA ? African Strategies for Advancing Pathology (ASAP) and the Aga Khan University Hospital in Nairobi (AKUHN).

During the first six months of the project, the partners involved three institutions and sixteen pathologists in Zimbabwe, Uganda and Tanzania, in a 2.5-day didactic workshop covering four cancers: breast, colorectal, cervical and prostate. The knowledge and skills of the participants as well as pathology practices at institutions involved were evaluated before and after the workshop to determine efficacy of the training and resources provided. In addition, ASAP and COPECSA pathologists will be conducting site visits to these institutions to assess change in practices after participation in the workshop.

The next workshop is planned for May 2016 and will involve three institutions and fifteen pathologists in Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi and Zambia. The second workshop will have a case based focus. Findings will be shared as the project progresses.