South Asia Centre for Medical Physics and Cancer Research (SCMPCR)
The prime project of Alo Bhubon Trust (Alo-BT) is the South Asia Centre for Medical Physics and Cancer Research (SCMPCR) started in July 2018. The South Asia (SA) region with its eight countries (Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka) is about 1.891 billion population which is approximately one-fourth of the world’s population. Cancer is the second leading cause of death globally, accounting for an estimated 9.6 million deaths, or one in six deaths, in 2018.
In modern times our health treatment sectors are evolving with a lot of new advanced technologies being incorporated in the sector of cancer treatment. From diagnostic to treatment technique all the equipment needs good maintenance and high-quality control and precision and accurate cancer treatment. So, increasing the number of qualified manpower in the field of cancer care in the South Asia region is mandatory.
Despite massive diversity across the South Asian countries, they face a big challenge to develop cancer control programs. SCMPCR is constantly trying to improve all the sectors which are required to build a Qualified Cancer treatment team.
Current Activities of SCMPCR
- Training: SCMPCR organizes a series of the International Organization of Medical Physics (IOMP) and the European Board for Accreditation in Medical Physics (EBAMP) accredited hands-on workshops and in-service training (2-3 per year) in collaboration with several national and international organizations and hospitals for cancer care team (Doctors, Medical Physicists, Nurses, and other providers). Hands-on training is more practical based and very interactive so that participants from different countries can update their knowledge in recent technologies and can make them prepared for the certification process. From experience, for many years we have realized that the outcome of training in foreign countries is less effective than in-service training. As in-service training more personnel can be involved in the hospitals, daily hospital-based cases, their problems according to the country can be solved using local equipment. This training program is done in hospitals (practical) and SCMPCR training rooms (lectures, examination) with experts’ trainers from abroad. These programs are supervised and funded by the German Academic Exchange program DAAD through mutual collaboration.
- Awareness Program on Cancer: Prevention is better than cure. From this belief to reduce the mortality and suffering of cancer, every year SCMPCR organizes cancer awareness programs twice a year as well as in special days like world cancer day and another important occasions.
- Self-help Group: SCMPCR introduced a Self-Help group of cancer patients for the first time in Bangladesh. SCMPCR has made a community of self-Help groups where the same types of cancer patients can discuss with each other, thereby can help each other, sharing their experience and especially, supporting each other which may enhance their mental strength.
- Health Education: Health education programs are organized in schools, colleges, universities, in cities, and rural areas to educate people on how to maintain a healthy life keeping diseases away.
- SCMPCR Newsletter: SCMPCR publishes newsletters bi-annually (January and July issue) to represent its activities. The editorial board comprises members of SA regions and also from other developed countries. SCMPCR already published three newsletters since January 2019.
- Research: In the meantime, SCMPCR has focused its research on 3D printers and Artificial Intelligence (AI) in collaboration with Germany, China, and the EFOMP AI group. Mr. Jobairul Islam was sent to the University of Heidelberg, Germany to gain experience on 3D printers and to continue research in Bangladesh. The founder of SCMPCR, Prof. Golam Abu Zakaria has been a member of the EFOMP Artificial Intelligence (AI) group. SCMPCR is continuously doing research with MP students, researchers on radiotherapy, diagnostic radiology, and nuclear medicine.
- E-Learning Program: SCMPCR is working with the Global health catalyst of Harvard University, USA, and the Mannheim Medical Centre, Germany to initiate the accredited online courses and webinars. In 2019 SCMPCR members participated in the Global health catalyst summit at Harvard University regarding this issue. In the meantime, SCMPCR has started a continuous E-Learning program from June 2020, for the first time in Bangladesh for medical physicists. The first e-learning program has successfully with more than 100 participants from 51 countries. The participants had put their positive responses on the evaluation form of the program. SCMPCR will organize complete e-learning courses 3 times a year from 2021 with a series of lectures where international well-renowned speakers will teach on recent advanced topics. Those courses will be accredited and CPD credit points and will be given to those who will complete the course.
Upcoming Programs of SCMPCR
- Welfare Home for Cancer Patients: Radiotherapy and other modes of cancer treatments are a long-time and expensive treatment (minimum 30 days). To avail better treatment, rural areas patients come to the city which is very costly and they require accommodation in the city which makes a further burden on them. Considering this SCMPCR aims to build a welfare home for poor cancer patients to provide the cheapest accommodation with food, counseling, outdoor facilities, and palliative care during the treatment period.
- Digital Library: It is difficult to collect all the hard copies of books on medical physics, oncology, radio diagnostic, and other subjects due to economic constraints. On the other hand, a large space will be needed for keeping those books. To cover the SA region and beyond this digital library is the most important.
- SCMPCR Institute for Residency Program: SCMPCR will establish an institute for the residency program and cancer research through the collaboration of other research national and international institutes. The residency program is mandatory for the certification of individual medical physicists as per international rules. The Institute should be a regional center for the SAARC countries and act as a meeting point for the scientists of all SAARC countries and all other neighboring countries like Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam, etc.
- Nutrition Medicine for Prevention: Another research field of SCMPCR is to focus on Nutrition Medicine for the prevention of diseases especially cancer.
To meet the challenge of 21-century medicine especially for advanced cancer treatment in Bangladesh and the South Asian region, SCMPCR will act as a center of excellence in the near future. Our beginning journey since its establishment has already shown a positive impact on the SA region. Many academicians, researchers, personals of cancer teams of different countries of the SA region comment on their positive views and suggestions in our newsletter, and hopefully, we can build an excellent hub for Cancer Control in the South Asia Region with the cooperation of well-wishers and philanthropic personal.