Oncopadi is committed to improving cancer care in Africa by leveraging last-mile cancer technologies and collaborations to share global best practices for local use.
AFRICANXT 2023 was a point of convergence for the largest gathering of innovators, entrepreneurs, policymakers, academics and organizations in Africa and the diaspora who are committed to Africa’s prosperity. This year’s event-themed: Cooperate. Collaborate. Innovate. Unlocking Our Potential, Ensuring Africa’s Prosperity, focused on the continent’s collective efforts in cooperating and collaborating across industries and borders, to drive the impact of the innovations put forward, unlock their fullest potential, scale their capacity, and ensure that communities, companies, countries, and Africa prospers and does so sustainably.
Oncopadi Technologies Limited is a leading digital health cancer innovation company empowering confident cancer care decisions for patients, caregivers, clinicians, and healthcare companies. Oncopadi Tech is on a mission to quickly connect cancer patients to life-saving resources – cancer specialists, hospitals, and coping resources. Oncopadi welcomed a global community of entrepreneurs, advocates, innovators, technologists, students and stakeholders who are committed to improving cancer care in Africa to the #AFRICANXT 2023 hybrid event which was held at Africanxt Campus, Water Corporation Drive, Victoria Island, Lagos on the 8th of February 2023, at 10:00 hrs WAT.
Oncopadi hosted its maiden edition of the panel session at this year’s #AFRICANXT titled; Last-mile Cancer Technologies; Improving cancer survival rates in Africa and was moderated by Oncopadi’s Cofounder and Chief Operating Officer–Dr Adaorah Enyi. Dr Enyi gave context to the panel session: explaining that Last-mile cancer technologies referred to innovations that delivered cancer care and products directly to patients regardless of geographical location. These innovations provided digital/virtual cancer services to end-users. She iterated the chronic shortage of cancer specialists in Nigeria and that this shortage had resulted in significant cancer care disparities. 18 states in Nigeria did not have a clinical oncologist. Dr Adaorah Enyi described Oncopadi as, a last-mile cancer technology delivering virtual cancer services to our last-mile users (patients and caregivers) from some of these 18 states in Nigeria, and six other African countries.
The African continent is facing a cancer health crisis. Nigeria the most populous African country accounts for over 125,000 new cancer cases every year. Sadly, the mortality rate is high with 60% of deaths recorded. Fortunately, it is not all gloom, as global innovators are committed to addressing this cancer burden and high mortality rate. The Panel session featured a brilliant lineup of speakers with experience in last-mile cancer technologies from Clinical Oncology, mhealth Research, Technology and the Social Sector.
In the Session, we,
1. Shared last-mile cancer technologies case studies on the African continent.
2. Reflected on and Discussed the roles and applicability of cancer technologies in LMICs.
3. Highlighted definite strategies aimed at strengthening the African cancer ecosystem
1> Abiodun Owo, Senior Programs Executive at Aspire Coronation Trust (ACT) Foundation, a grant-making non-profit organization supporting local, national, and regional organizations working to address health challenges and associated vulnerabilities across the African continent. Abiodun Owo shared her organization’s (ACT Foundation) experience in funding Cancer and Health technologies in LMICs. Abiodun highlighted that ACT Foundation in conjunction with non-profits such as Sebeccly cancer care had in the last 5 years equipped over 300,000 beneficiaries with information on cancer care, more than 30,000 cancer screening exercises had been conducted and capacity building of HCPs to support the navigation of cancer patients in Nigeria.
2> Dr Adeoluwa Adeniji, Chief Medical Director of Mecure Cancer Centre noted that one of the pillars for comprehensive cancer care was making an accurate diagnosis and Mecure Healthcare is a leading diagnostic centre in West Africa which recently set up its cancer centre. Dr Adeoluwa Adeniji explored some of the cutting-edge technologies Mecure was enabling to drive comprehensive cancer treatment and oncology services in LMICs such as the Mecure Smart App, the availability of PET/CT machines for accurate cancer diagnosis and monitoring and State-of-the-art therapy suites for medical oncology and targeted therapies.
3> Dr Matthew Allsop, Associate professor of Palliative Care, School of Medicine, University of Leeds. Dr Matthew explored and compared the digital health approaches of palliative care services for people living with advanced cancers in the UK, and countries in sub-Saharan Africa. He summarised his multi-country research findings and the role of prognostic modelling which is the use of data from clinical systems, and patient records in combination with patient-reported outcome data to understand cancer disease trajectory and inform decision-making.
4> Dr Omolola Salako, Lecturer, RBRR Digital Health Hub, College of Medicine, University of Lagos educated us on the role of mHealth Research and Data Intelligence in Oncology. Dr Salako talked about the 2 hubs powered by Oncopadi and explained how the RBRR Hub in the College of Medicine, University of Lagos nurtured the institution’s brain power and digital health ideas. She also provided an overview of how the PROSE Tool was providing clinical evidence and delivering support to cancer patients at Olabisi Onabanjo University Teaching Hospital.
To wrap up the discussion, the speakers shared their key takeaways and Call-to-Action. Dr Matthew called on the need to ensure that patient and caregiver involvement is central to current or future digital health developments such as generating personalised guidance or feedback on symptom management and valuable resources. Abiodun beckoned for harmonisation and collaboration of concerted efforts to drive collective impact amongst cancer leaders, innovators and advocates in strengthening the cancer care continuum. Dr Adeniji emphasised the role and importance of promoting accurate cancer information from verified medical sources in curbing the cancer burden in Africa. Dr Salako urged the audience particularly the women to take charge of their cervical health with the Sebeccly self-sampling kit for the prevention and early detection of cervical cancer.
Attendees (in-person and online) were engaged in several polls via a barcode with the aid of their mobile devices. Some shared their reason for attending the session and their submitted questions were responded to. The session came to a close with members of the audience expressing how much impact the session had on them using emojis. The session was indeed insightful, practical and data-driven. If you know anyone dealing with cancer or caring for a cancer patient, Create a free account on the Oncopadi App. If you would like to work with us or are interested in supporting the work, we do at Oncopadi, do contact us here.