Africa Radiation Oncology Network (AFRONET): an IAEA Telemedicine Pilot Project
In developing countries, many centres work in relative isolation with limited access to up-to-date published literature, international meetings, and expert opinion. Methods: The International Atomic Energy Agency established the AFrica Radiation Oncology NETwork (AFRONET) as a pilot project for African countries. Through videoconferencing, cancer professionals discussed and reviewed challenging cancer cases. Monthly virtual meetings took place among radiotherapy centres in Africa. During these meetings, individual cases were presented and discussed, and a consensus recommendation for treatment was reached. The platform was also used for regularly scheduled webinars. Results: 64 monthly meetings were held and 154 cases have been discussed. The average number of participating centres was 9 per session. Central nervous system tumours were the most common and 5.2% of patients were HIV positive. The profile of diseases and comorbidities represents a window into the typical patient population of radiotherapy centres in Africa. Videoconferencing discussions strengthened clinical decision making for oncology patients. Both the case discussions and the webinars contributed to resident education in participating centres. Conclusions: This pilot experience has shown that it is feasible to use available telemedicine tools to establish a network for case discussions and education in radiation oncology in African countries.
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Copyright (c) 2018 Eduardo Rosenblatt, Rajiv Ranjan Prasad, Kirsten Hopkins, Alfredo Polo, Ntokozo Ndlovu, Mohamed Saad Zaghloul, Gerald Paris, Lotfi Kochbati
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