ISTANBUL: The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) nations held a special session here to promote treatment for breast and cervical cancer.
The session focused on raising awareness about the huge toll cancer takes on the OIC member and observer states, and supporting efforts to ensure that everyone has access to effective cancer prevention, diagnosis, treatment and care.
Turkish Health Minister Mehmet Muezzinoglu opened the session and called for more awareness on healthy lifestyles and taking preventive measures. He highlighted the risks posed by smoking, alcohol consumption and obesity.
In his speech, Ahmad Mohamed Ali, president of the Islamic Development Bank (IDB), said efforts to combat the spread of cancer include early detection for girls and women and partnerships with organizations to consolidate efforts and exchange information.
OIC Secretary-General Iyad Madani said that the spread of cancer has become a major health concern in the OIC member states, and adversely affects socioeconomic efforts. He said the OIC was coordinating with the IDB and the International Agency for Atomic Energy to implement projects aimed at enhancing and establishing cancer treatment facilities in several member states.
Turkish first lady Emine Erdogan said in her speech that Turkey has adopted world-class treatments to combat cancer, which has succeeded in controlling the spread of the disease. The country has organized anti-smoking and early detection campaigns across the country, including at schools. She said all citizens have access to free treatment at health facilities.
At the end of their session, the delegates called for further investment in campaigns to tackle these illnesses, including more partnerships with the food industry to ensure compliance with guidelines pertinent to healthy diets and encouraging physical activity.
Recommendations also included promoting the implementation of cancer detection programs for women. This was in addition to national tobacco control strategies in the OIC member states, based on the guidelines outlined in the World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.
They also emphasized the importance of exchanging best regional practices, promoting regional coordination mechanisms related to mapping cancer patients, planning and implementation of cancer prevention measures, and enhancing national capacities in research.