Mandated to spearhead cancer control in the East African region, the East Africa Centre of Excellency for Oncology (EACEO) at Uganda Cancer Institute (UCI), is spearheading the harmonization of cancer registration guidelines and procedures in East Africa. This aims to strengthen the cancer data infrastructure and foster the prominent role of cancer registries in directing the cancer control effort in the region. According to Annet Nakaganda (project Lead): “it’s very difficult to control what you cannot measure and UCI is motivated to spearhead this, because planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of cancer control interventions requires population based cancer data that is valid, reliable, timely, complete and comparable among different populations”. This requires cancer registries to receive similar training and implement common guidelines in the region.
The project started in 2018 with several harmonization meetings, workshops and conferences. On 29th August 2019, the steering committee (comprised of members from MOH member states; Kenya, Tanzania, Burundi, Rwanda and Uganda) met at the East African Community Secretariat, Arusha Tanzania to finalize the harmonization process. Delegates from the East African community Health Department, the Eastern, Central and Southern Africa Health community-Head quarter (ECSA-HC) and the EACEO AfDB Project Coordination Unit also attended the meeting.
Delegates appreciated the importance of having regional Harmonised cancer registration guidelines for the promotion of high quality standards of cancer data in East Africa which will avail comparable information on cancer burden in the EAC member states to direct the cancer control effort in the region. They invite all stakeholders (in their respective capacities) and the whole society to join and support this effort.