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Grounds for Health at International Cancer Conference

Senior Program Officer Rebecca Singer speaking at UICC

Senior Program Officer Rebecca Singer speaking at UICC

Late last month, Senior Program Officer Rebecca Singer and Executive Director August Burns attended the UICC World Cancer Congress in Montreal, Canada. The theme of the conference was “Connecting for Global Impact,” and it provided an excellent opportunity for us to connect with others committed to global cancer control in order to increase our impact.

UICC, or the Union of International Cancer Control, is a membership organization that “exists to help the global health community accelerate the fight against cancer.” From August 27 through 29, this biannual congress brought together over two thousand representatives of governments, non-governmental organizations, cancer societies, research institutes, patient groups, the World Health Organization, and the World Economic Forum. These groups all came together to discuss issues of common concern, advances in research, and programmatic successes in four tracks: prevention and early detection; cancer care and survival; palliation and pain control; and systems in cancer control.

We had submitted an abstract to present at the conference which was accepted for presentation in what UICC called a “Rapid Poster Plenary” session. Essentially, we were given three minutes to present three slides detailing our work. Our presentation, entitled “Contributors and barriers to successful integration of cervical cancer prevention into existing health services in rural coffee-farming communities in Matagalpa, Nicaragua” highlighted work done between August and October 2011 which was partially funded by a UICC grant. We presented how the Grounds for Health model of intensive support for community health promoters and health care providers increases access for rural women to cervical cancer screening and treatment, when appropriate.

In addition to presenting our work to a wider audience, the congress provided an opportunity to meet with important partners and to make new connections. August and Rebecca met with representatives from the World Health Organization, the Pan-American Health Organization, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, UICC, the American Cancer Society, PATH, Clinical Farah in Matagalpa, Nicaragua and other organizations. These meetings with colleagues from an alphabet soup of organizations provided valuable face time with current partners in cervical cancer prevention. We also made several new connections which we hope result in some exciting new projects or new sources of funding.

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