ICPCN were delighted to endorse the Global Power of Oncology Nursing Virtual Conference which was held on Tuesday 17th November as part of London Global Cancer Week, and Prof Julia Downing co-Chaired the event with Prof Annie Young.
This virtual event aimed to showcase how nurses are strengthening capacity in cancer control systems in many Low and Middle Income Countries (LMICs), focussing on solutions to improved cancer care in a world where Universal Health Coverage is far from reality. Nurses do make a huge impact on the burden caused by the rising incidence of cancer in LMICs. Nurses are often, the first and only point of care in their communities and millions of nurses are needed to improve the quality of life of individuals of all ages with cancer.
The day was opened by HRH Princess Dina Mired from Jordan, the Immediate Pats President of UICC, it was great to hear of her commitment and passion for improving cancer care, but also recognising the value of nurses in cancer care. Dr Judy Khanyola from the University of Global Health Equity Centre for Nursing and Midwifery in Kigali, Rwanda and the African Representative for Nursing Now then addressed the oncology nurses contribution to Universal Health Coverage, challenging us as to what would happen if oncology nurses were the ones in charge!
The programme covered a range of topics, and covered oncology nursing across the age range including children and young people. Speakers came from across the world including Uganda, Palestine, Myanmar, Malaysia, Lebanon, Ghana, India, Pakistan, Tanzania, Croatia, Liberia, Brazil, the USA, the UK, Philippines, Peru, Romania, Georgia, Chile, Sierra Leona, Rwanda. One of the advantages of having a virtual conference was the ability to not only include speakers from around the world, but it also enable participants to attend from a wide range of countries, and not only those based in the UK. One such participant was ICPCN’ Education Officer Alex Daniels, who reports on a couple of the breakout sessions that she attended:
An inspirational breakout session on education showcased developments in the field of oncology nursing in India, Tanzania, Pakistan and Croatia. Through pioneering work undertaken in Pakistan, 15 international nurses have been trained through their ‘South to South’ training programme with the nurses representing Ethiopia, Bangladesh, Iraq, Tanzania and Kenya. Despite the challenge of recruiting nurses locally, (Pakistan has fewer nurses than physicians), more than 400 local nurses have been trained by the Pediatric Oncology Nursing Education Department (PONED) at Indus Hospital.
In Croatia, nurses undergo an extensive education programme resulting in 14 different terms used to describe nurses in the country. The Young Cancer Nurses Croatia are a group of ambitious, capable nurses who are actively engaged in numerous projects in the field including the EONS Young Cancer Nurses Nightingale challenge webinar series and these nurses are paving the way for a bright future in oncology nursing in Croatia.
Kezia Landanganon, a young woman from the Philippines set the stage for an excellent session on Adolescent and Young Adults (AYA’s) care as she eloquently described navigating her path despite the interruption of a life threatening condition. Other equally impressive contributions from young people affected by life threatening conditions included Manahil Fatma from Pakistan and Temo Kuchashvili from the Republic of Georgia. Dr Louse Soanes provided a global context for the plight of an estimated 1 million AYA’s who will have cancer every year; many of whom will sadly not be diagnosed or receive treatment for the disease. She emphasised the importance of raising awareness of the issues AYA’s face and referred to the impact of cancer on them as ‘substantial and multifaceted’. With great respect and compassion, Shandelle Hill shared the remarkable journey of aboriginal Australians accessing cancer care often covering great distance under extreme weather conditions.
A balloon debate provided some light relief and fun at the end of the day with participants voting on the critical professional for reducing the burden of global cancer care. The debate included a nurse, a patient, a surgeon and a pathologist, and not surprisingly the nurse won the debate, closely followed by the parent! Finally Edna Adan Ismail from Somaliland closed the day with an inspirational talk around her experience in developing healthcare in Somaliland, and the need for persistence and leadership, and never giving up!
The conference was free to attend and all of the presentations are no available via the website https://gpon2020.com/agenda-2-2/
Written by Prof Julia Downing – Chief Executive, ICPCN and Alex Daniels, Education Officer, ICPCN