BETHESDA, Md--The National Cancer Institute has orchestrated an
agreement between the Ministers of Health of Cyprus, Egypt, Israel,
Jordan, and the Palestinian Authority. The five ministers recently
gathered in Geneva to sign the Middle East Cancer Consortium (MECC)
Witnessing the signing were Donna Shalala, Secretary of Health
and Human Services, and NCI Director Richard Klausner. Although
MECC funding will come from its members, the NIH will also contribute
initial financial support.
The MECC will focus on cancer surveillance, information, and education.
This is extremely important since few countries in the Middle
East maintain cancer registries, the NCI said.
The MECC will also work to improve physician training, conduct
basic and clinical research, enhance public health and patient
care, institute quality control programs, and develop guidelines
and protocols. Other countries in the Middle East are free to
join the Consortium in the future.