On November 5-6 2017, the International Psycho-Oncology Society (IPOS) hosted the 2017 IPOS-WHO Training Academy in Kigali, Rwanda. Co-Chaired by Drs. Melissa Henry and Chioma Asuzu and Co-Sponsored by the World Health Organization, the Academy’s theme was “Cancer Prevention and Control in Africa”. Its goal was to train oncology healthcare professionals working in Africa to 1) better understand cultural, social, and psychological barriers to cancer prevention and control in Africa, and 2) address these barriers through evidenced-based programs.

Through its fundraising efforts, IPOS was able to provide scholarships to 37 professionals across the African continent to attend the Academy. Scholars found the Academy of high quality, impactful, and essential to their practice. “It was an honour to attend this Academy. It was very insightful, very relevant and it definitely was encouraging” “I would like to thank IPOS for this wonderful opportunity. I look forward to future trainings.” Scholars and Faculty of the Academy have formed a community of practice for continued capacity building on the continent.

Representatives of the African Organization for Research and Training in Cancer, the Rwanda Ministry of Health, and the World Health Organization, presented strong Opening Statements on the central role of psycho-oncology in improving cancer outcomes and the need to include comprehensive cancer care in National Cancer Plans. “We need to come back to our roots”, says the Ministry of Health.

Co-Chairs Drs. Henry and Asuzu met with the Rwanda Minister of Health, the Ministry of Health Director of the Division of HIV and Non-Communicable Disease, and the Director of the National Cancer Unit. All expressed their desire to work with IPOS towards integrating psycho-oncology as part of the National Cancer Plan in Rwanda and its implementation across the country.
A special thanks to our donors and supporters who have contributed to the Academy’s success, as well as to the International Scientific Committee: Drs. Melissa Henry (Co-Chair), Chioma Asuzu (Co-Chair), Jimmie Holland, Maggie Watson, Mark Lazenby, Scott Nichols, and Philip Odiyo. Our warmest appreciation to our Academy Faculty for their time and dedication: Dr. Allison Applebaum, Dr. Margaret Barton-Burke, Dr. Akindele Olupelumi Adebiyi, Dr. Elizabeth Akin-Odanye, Dr. Chioma Asuzu, Dr. Francesca Gany, Dr. Melissa Henry, Dr. David Lounsbury, Sokhna Ndiaye, Dr. Scott Nichols, Dr. Christian Ntizimira, Phillip Odyio, Dr. B. Olutoye Ogunnorin.

We would also like to congratulate Dr. Chioma Asuzu for her new position on the AORTIC Board, as AORTIC Vice-President of East Africa.

As expressed by Dr. Jimmie Holland in her Opening Address, “The social and psychological problems of cancer will soon take their rightful place in the curriculum for health care and a healthier Africa.”

Thank you for your continued support as we move our agenda forward in LMIC countries.

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