E-poster Presentation 2014 World Cancer Congress

Cancer Control in Mali - Local Perceptions of Cancer Treatment and Priority Setting among Health Care Providers (#979)

Smita Chackungal 1 , Souleymane AG Aboubacrine 2 , Michael Lock 1 , Richard Sullivan 3 , Jean-Marc Bourque 1
  1. London Regional Cancer Program, Western University, London, ON, Canada
  2. Department of Medicine, University of Bamako, Bamako, Mali
  3. Institute of Cancer Policy, King's College London, London, United Kingdom

Background: Cancer is a global problem with a disproportionate burden in the developing world. The lack of infrastructure, skilled professionals and access to effective cancer treatments has led to a growing geographical disparity in cancer control. There have been concerted efforts to make cancer a priority agenda area in many developing countries’ health sectors through collaborations with international partners. However, it is largely unknown whether this priority setting is congruent with the perspective of front-line oncology providers.

Aim: To examine cancer knowledge and perceptions among oncology physicians at a hospital in Mali, within the context of Mali’s national cancer control policies. 

Methods: A qualitative questionnaire was distributed among physicians that were involved in the care of cancer patients at Centre Hospitalier Universitaire du Point-G in Bamako Mali. Demographic data and clinical experience in oncology was also recorded. Descriptive statistics was used to describe the findings.

Results: Out of 22 surveys distributed, 16 were completed and returned (72%). Average age of respondents was 44 (range 29-61) with average length of clinical experience of 15 years. Tobacco (63%) was identified as the most preventable cause of cancer, followed by infectious diseases. 100% agree or strongly agree that cultural factors impedes diagnosis and treatment of cancer. 62.5% disagree or strongly disagree that the current health financing system allows access to cancer care. A lack of radiotherapy machines, trained oncology personnel, lack of essential medications and palliative care were seen as significant barriers to treating cancer patients. 70% of respondents identified establishing a cancer registry as an important national priority.

Conclusions: Cancer remains a significant priority among oncology physicians in Mali, though differing levels of awareness, political factors and infrastructure deficiencies act as barriers for improved cancer control. Soliciting of perspectives from front-line providers can guide international partnerships and agenda setting in the future.