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) agreement.
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.