Discussions at the conference, managed by the Economist Events, focused around how a cancer-care pathway should be designed, funded and implemented across the Middle East.
Healthcare stakeholders also discussed what needs to be done to improve prevention, screening, early detection and treatment as well as ways to educate the population about healthy lifestyle choices. From Oman, Dr Bassim Jaffar al Bahrani, director, National Oncology Centre, The Royal Hospital, and Dr Wahid al Kharusi, president, Oman Cancer Association took part in the panel discussions at the event.
Dr Bahrani participated in a talk on driving proactive policies. The discussion dealt with how long-term thinking is key for successful national cancer-control programmes; and how the region’s governments can develop systems that are proactive rather than reactive. Dr Kharusi took part in a discussion on breaking taboos and changing attitudes.
The panel talked about how longstanding taboos around illness and treatment be broken to destigmatise cancer. Princess Dina Mired of Jordan, president, Union for International Cancer Control, said, “We need strong and people-centred health systems, at the heart of which are empowered individuals and communities. In order to achieve this, we have to address the social determinants of health that create the large disparities in access to quality cancer treatment and care. We also need to adopt an all-of-society approach where governments, private sector and civil society work collaboratively to bring to life innovative, sustainable and appropriately resourced life-saving solutions for cancer.”