A significant challenge in fighting cancer in Africa is the limited number of oncologists in the region, and the burden they face to practice the best care possible given shortages in and unevenly-distributed resources. A survey conducted by the African Cancer Coalition found that 65% of oncologists are treating more than 10 types of cancer, and while they refer to guidelines, these guidelines are often written for resource environments dissimilar to their own.
The African Cancer Coalition has collaborated with NCCN, a not-for-profit alliance of leading U.S. cancer centers devoted to patient care, research, and education, and Allied Against Cancer, to develop the NCCN Harmonized Cancer Care Guidelines for Sub-Saharan Africa. Together, clinical professionals at NCCN Member Institutions and Coalition experts worked side by side to outline approaches to managing common cancer cases to achieve the highest standard of care with available resources. As of August 2018, 20 cancer guidelines have been adapted to the African setting.
In order to make the harmonized guidelines more accessible and interactive, Allied Against Cancer has developed the Cancer Guidelines Navigator tool (powered by IBM Cloud) to be the main distribution and reference system. This IBM-developed tool will be a companion to oncologists when they reference the guidelines. The tool has been piloted in Zambia and Nigeria, and will be freely-available for five different cancers in late 2019.