Radiation therapy in Africa: distribution and equipment.

Original article


Levin CV, El Gueddari B, Meghzifene A.

International Atomic Energy Agency, Vienna, Austria.

Radiother Oncol. 1999 Jul;52(1):79-84.


BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Africa is the least developed continent as regards radiation oncology resources. The documented ASR of cancer is of the order of 1 to 2 per 1000. With improving health care this is becoming more significant. This review was undertaken to help develop priorities for the region. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Radiation Oncology departments in Africa were identified and a survey of their equipment performed. These were compared to the reported situation in 1991. Population tables for the year 2000 were compared to available megavoltage machines. RESULTS: Of 56 countries in Africa, only 22 are confidently known to have megavoltage therapy concentrated in the southern and northern extremes of the continent. The 155 megavoltage machines operating represents over 100% increase over the past 8 years. The population served by each megavoltage machine ranges from 0.6 million to 70 million per machine. Overall, only 50% of the population have some access to Radiation Oncology services. CONCLUSION: Progress has been made in initiating radiation oncology in Ghana, Ethiopia and Namibia. There has been some increase in machines in Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco and Tunisia. However, a large backlog exists for basic radiation services.

Keywords: Developing countries; Cancer burden; Radiotherapy; Megavoltage

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